In their quest to protect the Ecuadorian Amazon, a group of indigenous guards has welcomed technology, improving the role they play in the survival of the rainforest’s biodiversity and consequently, the protection of the planet.
“Technology helped us uncover that our precious river was being invaded and our rights were being violated,” explains Nixon Andy Narváez, a young member of the Indigenous A’i Kofán of Sinangoe community. “This gave us the means and evidence to act and defend our land for the generations to come.”
The A’i Kofán Indigenous guard is mainly composed of young men and women whose efforts are concentrated on preventing invasions and illegal activities like deforestation and mining. In 2017, the community created its Law of Control and Protection of the A’i Kofán Ancestral Land of Sinangoe to protect its land by establishing a system of control and surveillance. The arrival of technology the same year encouraged the community to undergo a transformative shift. Drones, camera traps, and georeferencing tools – which they learned to use by themselves – have proven to be essential in the guards’ ongoing fight against illegal activities. Satellite images provided by Global Forest Watch and MapBiomas helped the guard members to monitor the changes that occurred over the last three decades, empowering them to protect both their ancestral lands and the environment.