New Publication: Remote sensing and conservation of isolated indigenous villages in Amazonia

Congrats to Aaron Groth on his new publication!

Walker RS, Hamilton MJ, Groth AA. 2014. Remote sensing and conservation of isolated indigenous villages in Amazonia. Royal Society Open Science 1: 140246.

The vast forests on the border between Brazil and Peru harbour a number of indigenous groups that have limited contact with the outside world. Accurate estimates of population sizes and village areas are essential to begin assessing the immediate conservation needs of such isolated groups. In contrast to overflights and encounters on the ground, remote sensing with satellite imagery offers a safe, inexpensive, non-invasive and systematic approach to provide demographic and land-use information for isolated peoples. Satellite imagery can also be used to understand the growth of isolated villages over time. There are five isolated villages in the headwaters of the Envira River confirmed by overflights that are visible with recent satellite imagery further confirming their locations and allowing measurement of their cleared gardens, village areas and thatch roofed houses. These isolated villages appear to have population densities that are an order of magnitude higher than averages for other Brazilian indigenous villages. Here, we report on initial results of a remote surveillance programme designed to monitor movements and assess the demographic health of isolated peoples as a means to better mitigate against external threats to their long-term survival.

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