From: Alex Kirby, The Ecologist, More from this Affiliate
Published July 9, 2014 10:35 AM

Cell Phone Conservation

Some of the world's most endangered forests may soon benefit from better protection, thanks to discarded treasures from the consumer society - mobile phones.

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A Californian technology startup, Rainforest Connection (RFCx), has developed a tool - made from recycled smartphones - that it says will pilot new ways to monitor and stop illegal logging and animal poaching throughout Africa's equatorial forests.

RFCx has formed a partnership with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), an international scientific charity that works for the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats.

The two organisations are planning to install the anti-deforestation, anti-poaching technology in Cameroon this year.

Randy Hayes, the founder of the Rainforest Action Network, said: "This is the most exciting critical new tool I've seen that I think can help us get the job done."

RFCx says it has developed the first real-time detection system for protecting the forests and deterring illegal logging, using discarded Android smartphones to send instant alerts to forest rangers, enabling them to intervene swiftly.

It says current monitoring methods often rely on aerial surveys or satellite surveillance, which usually detect deforestation days or even weeks after the event.

Topher White, RFCx's founder, believes the right tools have been developed at just the right moment to make a difference. He said: "It's clear that real-time awareness and intervention is a major missing piece in protecting the world's last remaining rainforests."

"By using old smartphones and existing telecommunications infrastructure, we have built a system that we think could scale quickly enough to make a real impact."

Continue reading at ENN affiliate The Ecologist.

Cell Phone image via Shutterstock.

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