mercredi 10 juin 2015

Satellite images provide new view of uncontacted Amazonian communities

10/06/2015 -

A laundry list of dangers threaten Amazonia’s few remaining uncontacted indigenous communities. Colonists and industry workers often grab tribal land for mining, logging, drug trafficking, or hydrocarbon extraction, which damage the groups’ environment and bring them into conflict with armed settlers. Careless encroachment by outsiders can also bring diseases to which uncontacted groups have no immunity. 

Locating and keeping tabs on settlements is an important step in protecting communities from the advances of colonists and even government-sanctioned development. But this has often entailed direct contact or aerial surveys with low-flying planes, which cost researchers thousands of dollars per flight and cause undue stress to people being surveyed. A number of aerial images show villagers shooting arrows at planes or fleeing into the forest. 

In the past few years, however, scientists have begun to explore using high-resolution satellite images to gather data on the location, population, and configuration of uncontacted communities. Surveys using these images can... Read more