Indigenous people and ranchers: "hi-tech" protectors of the world´s largest rainforest
by Leopoldo Vanegas. One of the seven wonders of the world. The most extensive rainforest on Earth.
2.4 Square Million Miles of biodiversity and exuberance spreading across nine countries from the majestic basin of the Amazon, the largest river on the planet. The Amazon rainforest. But the harsh reality shows that it is being razed indiscriminately and quick action is needed. In the past decade, the expanding agricultural frontier has been the cause of half of the world’s tropical forest deforestation. By 2050, the world will have 9 billion people to feed. All eyes turn toward this region and simply protecting it is no longer enough. We must change traditional production practices. And the Brazilian Amazon offers an eloquent case.
In the recent past, the Amazon rainforest was a no man’s land. Settlers used machetes and fire to clear the rainforest without any planning or forethought. Much of this land was cleared for cattle grazing, and for the most part settlers did not have legal title to the land they homesteaded. There were no rules; because of this today, 20% of the Amazon basin is deforested and another 30% of the rainforest is degraded. The obvious question was: How could this trend be reversed? Would strict regulations of environmental agencies and local governments be enough? The truth was not that simple. How could the improperly cleared area be accurately quantified? It was virtually impossible then, but not now. Nowadays we have the technology to do it. TNC is an environmental organization dedicated with finding the right balance between the food and agricultural frontiers. The goal is to find a way to eat and live off the land while also conserving the forests. Based on this premise, and using cutting edge science and innovation, TNC has designed and implemented key technological tools that facilitate strategic planning for the conservation of the Amazon System on an unprecedented scale.