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Environmental Monitoring by Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon

Can indigenous peoples be relied on to gather reliable environmental data that meet the standards of science?

By Louis Bergeron
Stanford Report
October 13, 2011

Some scientists argue that the cultural and educational differences between trained scientists and native peoples are too large for the latter's data to be relied on in environmental studies.  Now, researchers led by Stanford ecologist José Fragoso have demonstrated – in a multi-year environmental study of 48,000 square kilometers of the Amazon – that adapting data collection and verification systems to local cultures can make the resulting data as reliable as that collected by researchers.

Stanford ecologist José Fragoso talks about working with indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin and how their spiritual beliefs affect the ecosystem.