Updated May 24, 2019

Suzanne Pelletier

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Fighting climate change through indigenous-led technology-based forest protection.

The innovation leverages and converts publicly available and emerging satellite deforestation information and off-the shelf technology, such as drones and adapted smartphone applications, into manageable tools that indigenous communities use to identify, analyze, and then document threats to to their collective forests. The system is built on a structure of regional, indigenous-run tech ...
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The innovation leverages and converts publicly available and emerging satellite deforestation information and off-the shelf technology, such as drones and adapted smartphone applications, into manageable tools that indigenous communities use to identify, analyze, and then document threats to to their collective forests. The system is built on a structure of regional, indigenous-run tech hubs and a wide network of community-based monitors. This system ensures that valuable information on deforestation flows to and from remote communities. Indigenous technicians at regional data hubs analyze deforestation data and, incorporate maps and deforestation data into smartphone applications. They physically distribute this data regularly to indigenous community based monitors, given that there is almost no connectivity in the Amazon. Teams of 3-4 monitors in each community then use special apps on GPS enabled smartphones and drones to verify the deforestation alerts and convert the results into maps. Communities then take action at the local level and engage state authorities if needed. As we scale, we are partnering with regional and national indigenous federations to house the tech hubs and coordinate actions with state and local communities. We are using a “train the trainers” model whereby indigenous monitors and technicians are horizontally training their peers.
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Stage 4: Transition to Scale

Transition to Scale: In 2015 we proved the concept, eliminating deforestation in two communities. In 2017 we expanded to 36 communities. We’re analyzing project impact and have agreements with indigenous leadership to expand to 9 countries.
Registered in United Statesin United States

Focus Areas:

Forestry, GIS/Mapping, Climate Change and Resilience and 6 MoreSEE ALL

Forestry, GIS/Mapping, Climate Change and Resilience, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Technology, Rule of Law and Human Rights, Land Tenure, Biodiversity and BlockchainSEE LESS

Implemented In:

Peru

PeruSEE LESS

4
Key Partners
1
Country Implemented In
7
Employees
$765,883
Funds Raised to Date

Problem

The pervasive deforestation of the Amazon causes massive CO2 emissions. Governments in the region lack the resources to effectively patrol their carbon rich forests, leaving them vulnerable to illegal logging, mining and invasive agriculture. Indigenous territories have deforestation rates are 2-3 times lower than other areas, yet investment in forest protection rarely reaches frontline forest defenders, Effective collaboration, communication and information flow among stakeholders is lacking.

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Solution

We activate nimble networks of indigenous frontline forest communities to address forest threats by training them to use high-tech, low-cost tools to monitor deforestation, register environmental crimes and trigger community and government interventions quickly and efficiently. Our system ensures information flows to and from remote communities, and builds value added relationships with regional government agencies to stop illegal deforestation by promoting informed forest protection.

Target Beneficiaries

Currently direct beneficiaries include 50 indigenous forest communities in the Peruvian Amazon, who collectively control more than 300,000 hectares of forest. Ultimately, as we further scale the system to millions of hectares across the Amazon, hundreds of communities will directly benefit. Also, the entire world population will indirectly benefit, owing the the vast stores of carbon in these forests that will be protected from being released because of the system.

Mission and Vision

We will ensure the protection of millions of hectares of carbon dense tropical rainforests by empowering indigenous communities with the data and technology they need to take action to conserve their ancestral rainforests. This proven innovation will drive investment directly to front-line indigenous forest communities who are committed to protect their territories. Meanwhile, developing collaborative links with enforcement authorities will keep forests standing and restore degraded areas,

Competitive Advantage

Our system empowers indigenous front-line stakeholders to take action to stop deforestation in collaboration with enforcement agencies in historically neglected Amazon forest areas. They are often the most important agents of change in remote amazonian settings. Our system works, it stops deforestation. Our two pilot communities decreased their deforestation rates from 5% to 0. It Is highly cost effective. For less than $5/hectare it protects forests in a region where the forests store about 140 tons of carbon/hectare. We have agreements with both government agencies and indigenous federations in Peru to collaborate and implement this system. We are rigorously measuring impact. We are partnering with Columbia University to measure the system’s impact so that we can drive investment in effective actions. We are poised to scale. We have an agreement with indigenous leaders from 9 countries across the Amazon to jointly implement and scale up this system across the region.

Planned Goals and Milestones

We are collaborating with Columbia University in a peer reviewed academic study of the results of our innovation in 36 communities in Peru, covering 250,000 hectares. The study is documenting the positive impacts of technology implementation with indigenous communities on forest conservation, related collective governance, and collaboration with the Government of Peru. The results will be available in fall 2019.
Funding Goal1,000,000
New Implemented CountriesGuyana, Brazil, Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama

The Team Behind the Innovation

Tom Bewick, Peru Project Director, LLM international human rights law Wendy Pineda, Geographer and Environmental Engineer, Monitoring Coordinator (female) Suzanne Pelletier, Executive Director, MBA (female) Cameron Ellis, Geographer Plinio Pizango, Climate specialist and indigenous relations specialist

EXECUTIVE TEAM INCLUDES WOMEN

Milestone

Mar 2019
Key Partnership
ORGANIZATIONRegen Network Development Inc.
Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Mar 2019
Recognition ReceivedPENDING
Sep 2017
Key Partnership
Research
Jan 2016
New Country Implemented In
Peru

Supporting Materials

InfoAction-RFUS-letter-size.pdf