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How Can Cutting-edge Tech Empower Communities to Fight Deforestation?

EcoLogic's GFW-funded project equips Central America and Mexico communities with technology to tackle deforestation, fostering collaboration and empowering youth for a sustainable future.

We're thrilled to share the latest updates from our project funded by the Global Forest Watch (GFW) Small Grants Fund. This grant has enabled us to employ cutting-edge technology, engage local communities, and forge valuable partnerships to safeguard the forests of Central America and Mexico.

Training and Capacity Building

We conducted numerous training sessions in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, reaching over 200 participants. These trainings focused on:

  • GPS skills: Enhancing participants' ability to navigate and map conservation areas.

  • Forest monitoring and reforestation: Utilizing mobile apps and tools for data collection and analysis.

  • Drone usage: Equipping local teams with the latest technology for aerial monitoring.

Early Successes in Technology Adoption

One of the project's key goals is to equip community monitoring brigades with the tools and knowledge to target their conservation efforts effectively, protecting vulnerable ecosystems and ensuring sustainable land management practices in the long run. We're excited to report that adopting technology, like the Forest Watcher app, GPS, and drones, has been highly successful, exceeding our initial expectations. In Mexico, for example, ejido authorities used the Forest Watcher app to identify and apprehend individuals involved in illegal deforestation. In Totonicapán, Guatemala, the tool has been helpful to brigades fighting forest fires in February 2024.

Hugo Reyes, one of the forest rangers in northern Guatemala shared, “We are forest rangers from the community of Santa María Tzejá, in the Municipality of Ixcán, El Quiché. We learned how to use the Global Forest Watch platform to monitor the Cerro Cantil forest. We see that we carry out the work in a more targeted way since the application sends us alerts about forest fires or deforestation events to our cell phone and we arrive at the place of the alert by the route it provides, we can also leave the route track recorded.” 

Investing in the Future: Empowering Youth for Change

This project recognizes the crucial role that young people play in safeguarding our forests. In Honduras, we engaged 53 high school students with a strong interest in conservation, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to become active stewards of their environment. Implementing the Forest Watcher app has showcased its potential to students for protecting not just forests but also micro-watersheds – vital water sources for their communities. By providing youth with accessible technology and training, we empower them to become active participants in safeguarding their natural resources and building a more sustainable future for their communities.

Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing

We actively participated in GFW events, sharing our experiences and collaborating with other grantees. This resulted in valuable feedback and improvements to the Forest Watcher app, such as enabling the download of monitoring routes for offline analysis. We also established connections with regional partners like the Regional Program for Development and Environment Research (PRISMA) to explore further collaboration opportunities and integrate our experience into an online platform on Mapbuilder, supporting community-level conservation efforts.

Looking Ahead

We're encouraged by the project's initial success and remain committed to empowering local communities in the fight against deforestation. In the coming months, we'll continue to:

  • Expand training programs and provide ongoing technical support.

  • Refine monitoring protocols and data analysis methods.

  • Foster collaboration with local partners and stakeholders.

  • Advocate for improved policies and practices that protect forests and local communities.

By working together, we can create a future where Central America and Mexico's forests thrive and the communities that depend on them prosper. Stay tuned for further updates on our progress!


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