The idea of GPS supported community-based forest monitoring and forest crime prevention was born during a scientific green criminology project in Brazil (2010-2016), funded by the Dutch NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development Program. It was set up in collaboration with Brazilian universities and NGOs to identify and reduce social and environmental harm, including crime. The development strategy focused on access to justice and improving the rule of law.
In 2014, we first equipped various traditional communities that live near deforestation hotspots with water proof GPS cameras, solar chargers and power bank. It allows them to take pictures of illegal forest activities.
The activities of Forest Forces are possible thanks to funding by a crowd; initially by alumni from Utrecht University, followed by donations from people from different countries – so far, mainly Brazil and The Netherlands.
Forest Forces has existed as an informal network since 2014. In 2018 Forest Forces became an official entity: Forest Forces is registered as a non-profit Foundation in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Stichting Forest Forces).