A move to blend culture with maps to save vanishing forests

Men group in Boepe village and participate in a mapping exercise in Merauke district, Papua province, Indonesia. (Photo: CIFOR)

There's a new type of indigenous activism taking root in the thin soils of Borneo – and around the world from the Philippines to Pacific islands such as Fiji to South America. At its root is the hope that sophisticated interactive maps – incorporating the precision of GPS satellite tools with cultural and land-use information that can only be obtained from residents on the ground – will convince governments to better defend traditional cultures and the natural resources they rely upon.

The activists feel they're in a race against time – before the last vestiges of a rain forest that has the greatest diversity of plant and animal life on the planet (there are more native plant species on Borneo than in all of Africa) disappears for good, and the cultures that rely on the forest along with it.

Read the full article at the Christian Science Monitor

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