-Based on an article published byECA Amarakaeri on the 17th of February 2021. Translated (with minor edits for clarity) and reposted with permission.
Faced with threats and socio-environmental conflicts generated by human activities such as gold mining and illegal logging, the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve is innovating the implementation of a patrol system with the inclusion of state-of-the-art technology.
Through the use of technology that integrates the traditional knowledge of the Indigenous Peoples of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve - who since ancient times have carried out the guardianship and sustainable management of their forests - the protection and conservation of this protected natural area is ensured, thanks to participation of both Indigenous Peoples and the Peruvian state. This includes community chiefs, managers and specialized technicians, along with 24 communal guards and 14 official park rangers.
MAPEO is one of the technological tools used in the reserve, and it is a free application that allows the user to store information effectively and quickly without using the internet. On February 12, 2021, we held a webinar “MAPEO: A technological tool for the surveillance and control of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.”
Jen Castro of Digital Democracy began by highlighting that MAPEO is a tool for community-based monitoring with a suitable system for Android smartphones (MAPEO Mobile) and computers (MAPEO Desktop).
She highlighted that “MAPEO is designed for different Indigenous Peoples that are working for the territorial defense of nature and human rights. It is a free application that can be downloaded online. MAPEO Mobile and MAPEO Desktop help users allow generating geospatial information.”
In the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, this application has been used since 2018. During these years, training workshops and equipment acquisition have been held with the support of the partners Digital Democracy, Hivos, and the International Institute of Social Studies.
“The use of MAPEO is born because of the priority from the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve to reinforce Indigenous knowledge with the use of digital technology by Indigenous Peoples with their own structure, creating a database. This process is taking shape with the partners of the All Eyes in the Amazon program”, says Luis Tayori, director and head of the Surveillance and Control area of ECA Amarakaeri.
Similarly, the specialist of the National Service of Protected Areas by the State (Sernanp), José Luis Yucra indicates that “the co-management of the Amarakaeri reserve adopts MAPEO as its working tool in the Surveillance and Control area intending to mitigate and deter illegal activities in the Amarakaeri reserve and communal territories. The co-management team that works in the field collects information through patrols and community-based surveillance actions”.
To implement MAPEO in communal reserves
One of the main challenges for communal reserves is to have first-hand information for their surveillance and control actions. MAPEO is a tool that allows its users to document and store data, adjusting their priorities. For this reason, it is necessary to replicate the Amarakaeri experience in other communal reserves in Peru.
“We must start working so that the MAPEO application can be implemented in other communal reserves. For us, this is very important, because it allows us to generate very relevant information for the management that we have to conduct. Besides, we must see how we articulate it and link it to our official system,” emphasized the head of the Sernanp, Pedro Gamboa.
In the same vein, the president of the National Association of Executors ofadministration Contracts of Peru (ANECAP) and member of the Sernanp board of directors, Fermín Chimatani, mentioned that it is necessary to strengthen the surveillance and control system of communal reserves with various technological tools that integrate Indigenous knowledge.
“We are challenged to expand and see Amarakaeri's experience in other natural protected areas. For us, the Indigenous Peoples, surveillance is an important ancestral practice that we continue to exercise even more in this context, where there are various socio-environmental conflicts,” he said.
For the co-management of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, it is important that the implementation of this type of technology is replicated in other communal reserves, adapting to the reality of each one of them. In this sense, we will continue to strengthen the Surveillance and Control system to establish actions for the protection and conservation of our ancestral territory and native partner communities.