By engaging communities in the fight to tackle illegal logging, this project seeks to strengthen their involvement in forest management using the Rainforest Foundation UK's (RFUK's) innovative ForestLink real-time monitoring technology.
This project is currently supporting some 31 communities across Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Peru. Nearly 60 local observers have been trained in Africa and are involved in technology deployment and testing.
Locations: Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Peru
Local partners: FODER, GASHE, FoE-Ghana, FENAMAD, AIDESEP
Funders: Department for International Development, The Waterloo Foundation, The Rainforest Fund
RFUK works 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, underminind forest and indigenous peoples' livelihoods and destroying ecosystems.
The potential role of forest dwellers in monitoring forest illegalities has to date been largely overlooked in favour of an externally-driven model, typically based abroad or in capital cities, that relies heavily on third-party monitors. This can lead to prohibitively costly and inefficient programmes that contribute little to real improvements in forest governance.
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.
In 2015, with our Cameroonian partner FODER, we successfully piloted new technology, ForestLink, that enables communities to capture and transmit reports of various illegalities to a central database in real-time - even in areas where there is no mobile or internet connectivity.
Building on this experience, and with funding from the Department of International Development (DFID), The Waterloo Foundation, The Rainforest Fund and the general public, we aim to further test and develop the ForestLink system in real-life enforcement contexts in Cameroon, DRC, Ghana and Peru.
"ForestLink provides communities and civil society with new tools to monitor change in forest use and in their environment, to inform decision-makers in real-time so they can take action, and to contribute to the fight against illegal logging."
Rodrigue Ngonzo, FODER