Peter is the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Coordinator at the Rainforest Foundation UK. He develops RFUK’s mapping and monitoring systems, which enable forest communities to defend their forest home.
Peter Foster reports on a recent trip to Ghana where he introduced RFUK’s new ForestLink programme.
"Late last year, I travelled to Accra, Ghana, to discuss using ForestLink to scale up community-based monitoring of illegal logging with our new project partner - Friends of the Earth Ghana.
Building on a last year’s pilot project in Cameroon, we explained how the system would enable communities to have their voices heard and play a central role in the way their forests are developed and also managed.
The communities I met expressed their enthusiasm for the system saying it would help them to hold logging companies to account over their social responsibilities to the community – like making sure they build the road or the school that they promised to, which is a significant problem in this region.”
Last year, the pilot ForestLink programme in Cameroon proved that the technology developed by RFUK can work reliably in remote forest areas –20 of 40 reports submitted by communities during the six-week test period were verified by our partner Forêts et Développement Rural (FODER).
Now the challenge is to help communities defend their homes by monitoring and reporting illegal activity in their forest, and ensuring that the data generated contributes directly to the reduction of forest illegalities.
Thanks to the generous donations from our supporters, charitable foundations and UK AID, RFUK will be starting up new ForestLink projects in Cameroon, Ghana, Democratic Republic of Congo and Peru during 2016.