All Eyes on the Amazon

  • How can we stop deforestation of the Amazon rainforest?
  • How can reliable evidence in remote and scarcely populated regions be collected?
  • How can policy and commercial interest be influenced beyond presentation of evidence alone?

These are the questions ISS researchers, Dr Lorenzo Pellegrini and Professor Murat Arsel, are aiming to answer. A unique element of this project is the use of state-of-the-art-technology, such as satellites and drones by local indigenous communities to monitor and collect evidence of environmental damage.

As Dr Pellegrini states: ‘Drones are incredibly effective as you can capture images of an oil spill in a flooded forest and get a pretty good idea of the size of the spill’.

Hivos/Greenpeace led project

Led by Hivos and Greenpeace, in total fifteen local organizations and eleven coalition partners, including ISS, are involved in the project.

All Eyes on the Amazon - video trailer

All Eyes on the Amazon - video trailer

Local communities protecting the rainforest

All Eyes on the Amazon aims to make a major positive impact on the current situation in the Amazon by working in nine project locations in Ecuador, Brazil, and Peru covering a total of about 8 million hectares of forest.

With funding from the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the Swedish Postcode Foundation, and the Postcode Planet Trust, All Eyes on the Amazon takes as its starting point the importance of local communities in protecting the rainforest.

In order to stop deforestation in these areas, ISS is working together with the local community to contribute to an interconnected network of forest ‘protectors’. The local and indigenous communities are central to this network but research institutions, law enforcement agencies and environmental and human rights organizations also play a vital role as forest protectors.

Together the network works on:

  • ‘Radical transparency’ by collecting evidence of deforestation and environmental damage,
  • ‘Full responsibility’ through evidence-based action like campaigns but also better law enforcement
  • ‘Durable solutions’ by helping to create or further improve local conditions that enable better protection of the rainforest. For example, financing of forest ranger teams.
All eyes on the Amazon - indigenous monitoring of deforestation
Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Why is this research relevant?

Forests, and in specific rainforests, are extremely important for the local as well as global environment. Absorbing carbon monoxide and releasing oxygen, the rainforests are often referred to as the ‘lungs of the planet’.

They are also home for over 150 million indigenous people worldwide. Despite the importance of the rainforests, they are being cut down at an extremely fast pace and, as a result both of deforestation and of resources extraction, indigenous peoples are being forced from their homes.

ISS contribution

ISS has a long history of carrying out action research into the dynamics of conflicts and the collaboration in the management of natural resources in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

Building on over 10 years of research and partnerships with local organizations and communities, Dr Lorenzo Pellegrini and Professor Murat Arsel focus on technical capacity building for the local monitoring activities and on monitoring and evaluating the impact of anti-deforestation strategies – both in terms of concrete outcomes and through the assessment of socio-economic and environmental institutions.

Three PhD researchers work closely with the researchers on the political ecology and ecological economics of deforestation.

Coalition partners

Led by by Hivos and Greenpeace, in total fifteen local organizations and eleven coalition partners are involved in the project:

COICA | Digital Democracy | World Resources Institute | University of Maryland | INTERPOL Both ENDS | Witness | ARTICLE 19 | International Institute of Social Studies