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Stanford computer model sheds light on how modern interventions can affect tropical forests and indigenous peoples

People have thrived deep within the Amazon rainforest for hundreds of years without contact with the outside world. The constant encroachment of modern civilization, however, is putting the long-term sustainability of these people, and the ecosystems they inhabit, at risk.

Now a team of Stanford researchers has developed a computer model that can help understand the ways that activities such as clear-cutting and welfare programs might impact the future of the land and the people who live inside protected areas of the rainforest. They hope the simulation serves as a useful tool for governments and other organizations that interact with the world's indigenous people.

Indigenous people control about half of the planet's...