Since 2015, the ForestLink application has made it possible, using a smartphone or tablet, to denounce to the authorities any exactions observed on the environment. The acts concerned range from deforestation to gold mining and oil drilling.
A way to denounce attacks on the forest
In the heart of tropical forests, abuses are legion. The main ones are deforestation, gold mining and oil drilling. For the local populations, providing testimonies concerning these misdeeds is not easy. However, some residents found a solution a long time ago. These include the indigenous communities of the Loreto region (Peru), who have been using drones for the past ten years to show deforestation. However, another element allows for greater efficiency.
Since 2015, anyone can make a contribution and denounce attacks on the forest, through the ForestLink app. Developed by the Rainforest Foundation, it allows indeed to bring a precise testimony. People can use their smartphone or tablet to transmit information to a database concerning in particular the type of offense as well as the location thanks to GPS coordinates. The database in question is accessible to both authorities and environmental NGOs. In addition, the application also allows a use in isolated areas without access to the telephone network or the Internet. Indeed, ForestLink can use the Iridium satellite network.
Results not always there
Aldo Soto is the Rainforest Foundation coordinator for the Amazon region. According to him, it is obvious to rely on local populations in order to fight against environmental damage. Also in Peru, no less than eighteen communities use ForestLink where dozens of people have been specially trained.
Nevertheless, the effects of these testimonials can be improved. In the capital Lima, the authorities are quite often reluctant to take the various observations into account. Encouraging political decision-makers to take decisions is therefore a major issue for NGOs and local populations. However, since the appearance of the application, 26 reports have generated not less than eight major surveys. This still led to the destruction of 23 camps and 195 illegal equipment related to gold mining.
Here is the presentation of ForestLink by the Rainforest Foundation: