OVERVIEW

Real-time community-based monitoring is a tool that connects local people with national law enforcement in an effort to stop illegal logging and deforestation. Using our bespoke ForestLink system, forest communities can send alerts and evidence of a number of threats to the forest, even in remote areas with no mobile connectivity. Our ForestLink system can be used to address a wide range of threats, including illegal logging, illegal mining and oil spills.

This project is currently supporting over 30 communities across Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana and Peru. Nearly 60 local observers have already been trained in Africa alone.

THE ISSUE

We work in the world's two largest rainforests: the Congo Basin and the Amazon. Spread over billions of acres, these forests are under threat from illegal activities like logging and mining. These activities cause a breakdown in forest habitats, undermining forest and indigenous peoples' livelihoods and destroying ecosystems.

National and local authorities in Africa and Peru often lack the means and mechanisms needed to supervise and control extractive industries' operations, and local communities lack the means and resources to alert authorities to illegalities.

By engaging communities in the fight to tackle illegal logging, this project seeks to strengthen their involvement in forest management using our innovative ForestLink technology. Rather than relying on external or third-party observers, working directly with local communities can help reduce monitoring costs and inefficiencies while also improving forest governance.

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Working closely with local partner organisations, we’re training dozens of communities using our ForestLink system. This tool allows local people to send alerts and evidence of illegalities using a smartphone and bespoke app, even in areas with no mobile connectivity. We’re also supporting these same communities to advocate for their rights directly with logging companies.

Some of our achievements include:

  • ForestLink deployed and tested in DRC, Ghana, Cameroon and Peru
  • Nearly 60 community observers have already been trained and are using the technology
  • Hundreds of alerts successfully sent by trained community monitors
  • Real-time alerts from communities in Cameroon now contributing to government legal action (including fines, suspensions and timber seizures) against illegal loggers
  • Real-time alerts in Peru have led to arrests and the seizure of mining equipment in the Madre de Dios region
  • A new partnership in Peru means ForestLink will soon be used by communities to monitor oil spills, in addition to illegal mining and deforestation