Real Time Forest Monitoring System Uses New Tech to Fight Deforestation
Global Forest Watch 2.0 (GFW 2.0) is a powerful near real-time forest monitoring system launching this spring that combines satellite technology, new algorithms, cloud computing, mobile phone technologies, maps and human networks around the world to fight illegal logging and deforestation. GFW 2.0 is a major breakthrough, as it will create fast, online alerts that show when deforestation is taking place, particularly in remote locations. Currently, by the time satellite images of deforestation are viewed, the criminals are often far away as it takes around three to five years to produce a national forest cover map.
It is an idea that has come about through an innovative collaboration led by the World Resource Institute which has partnered with the UN environment programme, businesses and NGOs from around the world. It will be driven by Google Earth Engine and Earth Builder, bringing users a seamless experience.
This new social innovation knowledge will rapidly connect the global dots regarding forest clearing alerts within two weeks of significant deforestation occurring. Right, now our future is linked to forests, which are a vital source of biodiversity and livelihoods. They are natural carbon storage systems and help in fighting climate change. More than 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, including 60 million indigenous people who are wholly dependent on forests. The loss of forests is responsible for up to 17 per cent of all human-made greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the social and economic benefits forests provide are vital to realising a sustainable future. Our commitment to this future is our response to a global threat of illegal logging and the criminal timber trade.
There is increasing evidence that illegal logging and organised crime is taking place in key tropical countries of the Amazon basin, Congo basin and in south-east Asia. It is estimated that illegal activity accounts for 50 to 90 per cent of all logging in these areas, a criminal trade worth $30-100bn annually worldwide! Plus, with the increase of this type of organised crime related to forests, murder is also on the rise due to the growing involvement of criminal cartels.
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Deforestation image via Shutterstock.