Cacique Dada Borari is the Indigenous leader of the Maro Indigenous Territory in the Brazilian Amazon. Together with the teams of forest guardians, they have been on the frontlines of the resistance to defend the forest and all life within.
The Amazon rainforest has been rapidly disappearing due to deforestation is not news. In 2022 alone, we lost over 10,000 km2 which equates to three football fields worth of land per minute. The magnitude of this rainforest makes it capable to absorb Co2 and alter weather patterns around the world; stabilising and regulating ecosystems. It also sustains immense biodiversity and has been home to Indigenous tribes for thousands of years.
At this rate of deforestation of the Amazon - 90% of which is illegal - we are at the tipping point of falling into an irreversible global eco-disaster.
Forest Forces Foundation
Founded by Criminologist, UN Consultant, and research fellow at the Department of Criminology, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam Tim Boekhout van Solinge. Since 2014, he dedicated himself mainly to the preservation of tropical rainforests, amongst others by expanding the system of local forest monitoring with GPS cameras - one of the core activities that sustain Forest Forces Foundation.
Forest Forces combines (ancient) local knowledge from Indigenous communities in the Amazon with (modern) scientific knowledge, like criminology and GPS technology.
The methodology for forest crime prevention used at Forest Forces is simple and based on three activities:
- Provision of tools and equipment for better forest crime surveillance, such as solar-powered GPS cameras, appropriate garments, and means of transportation
- Building local capacity and empowerment
- Funding of legal abilities in support of local justice
Forest Forces provides forest guardians with surveillance equipment they use to document illegal deforestation activity in the area. Only with this gathered evidence can the local federal police and environmental police conduct operations that to stop illegal deforestation missions and prevent further destruction to take place. This project shows how local forest protection, even in remote areas without electricity and telephone, can be carried out effectively and inexpensively.
Working on the frontline, although rewarding and fulfilling, comes with challenges and risks. Cacique Dada as well as any member of a Forest Force is subject to death threats, violence, and death itself by mainly organizatons of illegal loggers. Furthermore, surveillance work demands constant costly maintenance and reparations of equipment due to unforeseen circumstances and simply due to the difficult terrains to cover in the forest.
Expanding Forest Forces Model
With this environmental crime prevention model being evidently successful and replicable across the rest of the Amazon forest and other forests around the world, it is imperative to build training capacity to create and multiply forest forces teams.
Safety and Security
Increasing the safety and security measures of the forest guardians on the frontline is another of our priorities. We must ensure that surveillance missions are as secure as possible to not only protect the lives and families of guardians but also to increase the chances of crime prevention.
Technology and Innovation
Seeking further technology and innovation advancements to enhance our mission means stepping closer, faster, and more efficiently toward preventing forest crime. For example, electric vehicles would allow guardians to approach illegal logging locations to gather photographic evidence silently and closer, lowering the risk of danger. Another example could be solar-paneled boats, as they decrease the travel time between Indigenous communities for training and stop an expensive and polluting reliance on fuel.
How do I support Forest Forces?
Your donations fall directly into the Indigenous communities and leaders working on the ground, while our foundation works closely with the people on the ground to track how finances are spent and how to create the greatest impact from them. Currently, Indigenous peoples protect more than 89% of the world’s diversity, yet in the last decade, only 0.74% of the funding has supported Indigenous Peoples rights and forest management.
On our website, you can see an overview of what your donations cover.
“We are taking back control from those who have lost their connection to mother earth and exploit the forest for profit.
Our non-Indigenous brothers and sisters must remember that they are part of nature too. Our collective survival depends on it.
Now is the time for us to unite if we want to pass on a healthy world for our children and future generations.”
- Cacique Dada Borari.