October 18, 2009

Google Earth documents deforestation

Tribe teams with Google to make stand in Amazon

By James TempleThe chief of an endangered Amazon tribe will unveil today the product of an unusual partnership with Google Inc. that pairs high tech with indigenous knowledge in an effort to rescue ancient rain forests and a dying culture.

Almir Surui, speaking at the 20th annual Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, plans to showcase Google Earth images years in the making that throw into sharp relief the rapid encroachment of illegal mining and logging onto his people's 600,000-acre reserve.

The data-rich maps include layers of videos, pictures, text and historical markers gathered by tribe members. It promises to underscore the importance of the land and propel the Surui people's efforts to become self-sufficient.

"Right now, under current development models, a standing forest is always worth less than its extractable parts," Chief Almir, 35, a stocky man with a bulldog head crowned by a feathered Amazon headdress, said through an interpreter.
Comment:  In Surui Fight Back with Film, Google and "Messenger" vs. Illegal Loggers, I noted the beginning of this partnership. Now it's come to fruition. I hope the project helps.

Below:  "Chief Almir Surui visits San Francisco on his trip to seek Google's help in preserving his endangered tribe in the Amazon." (Mike Kepka / The Chronicle)

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