Another prestigious award for the UCPH project ‘It’s Our Forest Too’
The Prey Lang Community Network in Cambodia has with help from UCPH researchers started protecting their forest using a new innovative app. The solution has been awarded the ‘Energy Globe Award’ 2019, and thereby the community can add another award to the collection.
Trees are being chopped down in an alarming pace in the 500.000 hectares large Cambodian Prey Lang Forest. To protect the forest, activist from the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) have started using an app developed together with University of Copenhagen. The project is called ‘It’s Our Forest Too’ and it has now been awarded the national ‘Energy Globe Award 2019’.
The ‘Energy Globe Award’ is according to their website “today’s most prestigious environmental prize worldwide”. The award receives more than 2,000 project submissions annually and attracts large amounts of media attention here amongst about 1,000 broadcasting hours a year.
The app, leading to this award, is used by the activist to collect GPS coordinates, photos and audio information to document and understand the consequences of illegal activities harming biodiversity and the local livelihoods. The information is not only useful for researchers but is also send to local policymakers.
Awards are piling up
It is not the first time, ‘It’s Our Forest Too’ has caught the attention of world. In 2015, the PLCN was selected the winner of the UN Equator Price for its monitoring of the forest. Senior Researcher and coordinator of the project, Ida Theilade, explained at the time how University of Copenhagen’s database over the resources of the Prey Lang Forest was important for the development and systematization of the monitoring. On top of this, the project won the International Society for Tropical Foresters (ISTF) Innovation Prize in 2017, handed out by Yale University.
It comes with a price
Apart from documenting, the PLCN tries to stop illegal activities in the forest whenever it is possible e.g. by confiscating the illegal loggers power saws. The activist’s actions do not make them popular. They are in the constant danger of being attacked and from 2002-2016, 14 persons have been murdered while trying to protect the forest.