Last year’s Amazon fire, Brazil’s rainforest suffered heavy losses, but also shocked the world. In fact, there are still a lot of rainforest fires burning in Brazil this year, but they are hidden in more news of the new outbreak. But there’s a group of people who are still trying to defend the rainforest that they depend on, and they’re using drones.
The 28 year old awabi grew up in a tribe deep in the Brazilian rainforest called uruyuwau, with only about 250 people. Before the 1980s, their tribe had been isolated from the world. Today, they live in a 7, 000 square mile, legally protected rainforest in the western Brazilian state of langdonia, relying mainly on growing crops, hunting, fishing and pharmaceuticals.
Awabi is operating the drone.
However, frequent fires in the Amazon rainforest have seriously threatened the way of life of awabi’s hometown and tribe. These fires do not occur naturally, most of them are caused by illegal activities. In addition, some people illegally plant and graze, cut down a large number of vegetation, and clean up the site by burning branches and leaves. The fire left behind is very easy to cause fire. Last year’s Amazon fire burned more than 800000 hectares, causing devastating damage to the area. This year, despite a ban imposed by the Brazilian government since mid July, the frequency of fires continues to increase.
The location of the awabi tribe.
“Nature is everything to us.” “It’s our life, it’s the lungs we breathe on, it’s our beating heart. We don’t want to see the jungle being cut down. If we cut down all the forests, the weather will get hotter and we will lose our rivers and hunting resources, even clean air. “
The attire of the awabi tribe.
In order to save the homeland, in December last year, awabi and five other representatives from indigenous tribes participated in a UAV operation training. The course is jointly organized by WWF and the Brazilian non-governmental organization “kaningde National Environmental Protection Association”.
Avino, a senior environmental analyst at WWF Brazil, said that during the training process, awabi and other representatives were attracted to operate the UAV for the first time, through which they could view the rainforest from the air. “They accepted the technology with open arms and soon began to use it.”
UAVs can provide high-definition images, videos and GPS map data, which can be used as evidence to report illegal activities to the authorities. It’s very difficult to get through the dense jungle, and drones allow indigenous tribes to monitor a wider area and avoid conflict with those who are illegal.
Currently, the project has donated 19 UAVs to 18 organizations involved in the conservation of the Amazon rainforest. With the help of drones, awabi led a team of 12 people patrolling the rainforest to monitor deforestation and fires. When using the UAV for the first time, they found that trees had been completely removed from a 1.4 hectare land. A few days later, they caught a helicopter planting grass seeds on the land, apparently to use it as pasture.
Awabi, they used drones to find the destroyed forest.
According to the WWF report, the National Indian foundation, the Brazilian government agency responsible for indigenous policies, has been able to use the geographic coordinates provided by awabi to investigate illegal logging.
Experts point out that although UAVs are getting smaller and cheaper, technology is not everything. It is reported that Rondonia is one of the States most seriously affected by forest fires in Brazil. However, due to the lack of action by the Brazilian government to solve the problem of deforestation and to formulate policies conducive to the development of the Amazon region, it has been strongly criticized by political and environmental protection organizations.
What’s more, land grabbers and illegal miners are not aware of their problems, and awabi is even threatened with death for protecting the rainforest. “I’m under a lot of threats and they’re monitoring my daily life.”
Despite the crisis, this has not shaken awabi’s determination to work for the well-being of future generations. “I love what I do, especially to protect the rainforest. I grew up in the rainforest and still live here, which is why I want to protect it.”
Editor in charge: PJ