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Discover Treesistance, an Environmental Movement Where Academic Science and Indigenous Knowledge Meet To Protect the Forest

Treesistance: (Noun) Active and optimistic refusal to comply with a system that exploits nature. A unique forest preservation movement that combines crime science, Indigenous knowledge, and GPS cameras to prevent illegal deforestation.

Protecting the forest can mean many things. For Indigenous people, it means protecting their homes and the environment they rely upon to survive. In partnership with Treesistance, these Forest Guardians monitor, patrol, and work alongside trusted law enforcement to prevent illegal activity that threatens to destroy the Amazon rainforest.

Ninety percent of deforestation in the Amazon is illegal. Treesistance uses crime science to protect the forest and the planet’s future. Since the Industrial Revolution, humanity has destroyed over 50% of the world's forests. That level of consumption isn't sustainable. Many people may be concerned about the planet's future but are unsure how they can help.

“We want people to realize that despite being far away, you don’t have to be in the forest to join the fight,” said Treesistance Executive Director Tom Wheeler.

Treesistance allows supporters to directly support and sponsor the Forest Guardians and their activities, including essential technology, equipment, training, and logistics. All activities are Indigenous-led and overseen by respected leader Chief Dada Borari. Chief Dada was notably selected as the spokesperson of the Amazon and the Indigenous people for the 2021 film ‘The Letter’ in which he travelled to the Vatican to meet the Pope.

The surveillance evidence captured by forest patrols is then sent to the public prosecutor's office and can be used to initiate law enforcement operations to stop illegal logging and other forest crimes.

"We used to fight with a bow and arrow," said Chief Dadá, Head of the Treesistance Forest Guardian Program. "Now, the camera is our weapon."

Working with Indigenous Forest Guardians

The Treesistance model was born in 2014 when the first traditional communities living near deforestation hotspots in the Maro Indigenous territory, Brazil were equipped with waterproof GPS cameras, solar chargers, and a power bank. The equipment made it possible to capture detailed proof of illegal forest activities. By 2016, the surveillance team had grown to twelve members, and its GPS evidence led to ending all illicit operations in the territory. The model proved successful and has been replicated in other areas with other indigenous populations with protected borders. 

“The responsibility of taking care of Mother Earth is not ours alone,” Chief Dada said. “The world should make its contribution to the environment.”

Expanding ‘Access to Justice’ with Treesistance

Dr. Tim Boekhout van Solinge, Head of Forest Crime Prevention at Treesistance, shares insights into how the movement expands access to justice for the indigenous people of the Amazon. By providing a means to protect themselves and the forest against illegal deforestation, Treesistance extends the protection of modern science and technology to the Amazon.

A New Way to Fight Illegal Deforestation

Dr. Boekhout van Solinge’s access for justice model introduces a new way to fight illegal deforestation in the Amazon. Treesistance can introduce the access for justice model in three steps and substantially reduce forest crime within the patrolled area. 

Step One: Demarcating Land/Establishing Land Rights

This step can be lengthy, but securing the legal right to defend the land is a vital part of the process. The Brazilian constitution upholds indigenous people's rights, so most claims are accepted. Proving the illegality of deforestation is essential. 

Step Two: Formation of Indigenous Forest Guardians

Chief Dada and his team formed and trained a team of many Forest Guardians. Patrols involve one person gathering GPS evidence of illegal activity as others spread out to document interactions with mobile cameras for security. This phase focuses on protection through prevention.

Step Three: Access to Justice

Treesistance works with public prosecutors, federal police, and legal collectives to ensure that action is taken to follow up on evidence of illegal activity.

"Accountability is essential not just to stop current activities, but to act as a deterrence in the future," Treesistance founders said.

Join the Treesistance

Supporters can become an extension of the Treesistance Forest Guardians Program and show their solidarity with the indigenous people of the Amazon. For a donation of 20 euros per month, anyone can become a guardian of nature. 

— The Indigenous Forest Guardians Program receives 100% of every monthly donation. 

— The donation pays a daily conservation fee to a guardian patrolling the forest. 

— Donors receive a certificate, a special edition tree-free notebook, other promotional items, and regular updates.

— Supporters become part of a community and movement that instigates positive change. 


Visit the Treesistance website to learn more about the organization's efforts to conserve Amazonian forests and protect against illegal deforestation. Reach out on Instagram to connect with the movement through social media. 

Contact Info:
Name: Tom Wheeler
Email: Send Email
Organization: Treesistance

Release ID: 89126742

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