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  • Ana Luisa Teixeira and Silvia Elena Ventorini, Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei/Brazil

Fieldwork of the UAIGEO Chapter in the Municipality of Tefé, Heart of the Amazon

The biodiversity of the Amazon Forest is immense, and the cultural diversity of traditional peoples and communities is as rich and vital as nature because they are part of the forest. Through their social organizations, they occupy and use territories and natural resources in sustainable ways and help preserve nature and traditional practices, which make up their cultures. Along the Solimões River, in tiny communities (10 or 15 buildings), residents help preserve the forest with their everyday practices. This river is one of the principal tributaries of the biggest hydric complex in the world - the Amazon basin. Studies show that they are 6.15 million square kilometers and have a flow rate of 200.000 cubic meters per second.


Riverside communities - Photo By Davy Rabelo


Everyday practices - Collection UAIGeo


The locals paddle from place to place in small canoes, and the distance and time may be shorter during periods of high water levels when it is possible to navigate from one river to another among the trees. But, time and dangers in navigation, as well as restrictions on communication get bigger as the distance from the city of Tefé increases.

Resident’s canoes: Photo By Davy Rabelo

Therefore, developing projects in this forest is still an obstacle due to difficult access, difficulty in communication, and risks. The city of Tefé - in the heart of Amazon, and its respective communities, fit into this reality.

Solimões river - Collection UAIGeo

Tefé’s harbor – Photo by Ana Luisa Teixiera

In this area, with distant locations and difficult access, the chapter "Unificar Ações e Informações Geoespaciais - UAIGeo UFSJ" has been mapping riverside communities to reverse their invisibility (read more at encurtador.com.br/mrvH6). The project is conducted in conjunction with chapter members and students at the Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (Keit Gomes Pereira and Paula dos Santos Silva) and their professor Dr. Francisco Davy Braz Rabelo, with support from Everywhere She Maps and the National Geographic Society.


On February 07 to 11, the chapter members went to Tefé to collect data, learn about the reality of Amazon and exchange their knowledge about the culture and the amazon reality. They also visited São Luís do Macari, another community where UAIGeo has been remotely mapping and carrying out some studies. During the fieldwork, the chapter members made important contacts with the city hall of Alvarães - the neighboring city of Tefé - which showed interest in carrying out the mapping that the chapter developed in Tefé, with the Instituto Mamirauá partnership. Mamirauá is a Social Organization promoted by the “Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovações” of the Federal Government.


Researchers in the field - Collection UAIGeo.


This trip was an indescribable experience for the chapter because, in addition to opening other work fronts, the members got to know the area they had been mapping. Soon, new locations will be registered and the work will continue. UAIGEO will come back to Tefé, and Prof. Davy and his students will come to visit our university in São João del- Rei, Minas Gerais, where our chapter is based. This will expand the exchange of experiences and strengthen teamwork. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible.


We are looking forward to what lies ahead!


Chapter members and people in the community São Luís do Macari - Collection UAIGeo.

About the Authors:


Ana Luisa Teixeira is a master student in Geography at the Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei/Brazil. She is the leader of the UAIGeo chapter and participates in mapping riparian communities in the municipality of Tefé in the State of Amazonas/Brazil.


Silvia Elena Ventorini is a Phd in Geography and Profesor at the Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei/Brazil. She is the coordinator of UAIGeo chapter.