Rainforest Protection Efforts Boosted by This Ingenious Tech

Five years ago, a team of specialists came up with the ingenious idea of ​​using discarded handsets to build acoustic monitoring systems that could detect illegal deforestation and deforestation, which are believed to account for 10% of global carbon emissions.

Since then, Rainforest Connection has continued to develop its technology so that local rangers can react more quickly to prohibited activities in order to better catch those responsible and limit the damage.

This week, the team announced a major leap in technology thanks to a new partnership with Hitachi Vantara – the digital infrastructure and solutions division of the Japanese tech company. This could mean that rangers are present at a selected logging location before the perpetrators show up.

Rainforest Connection currently uses donated cell phones as devices to detect illegal forest activity. After being fitted with a solar panel array and acoustic technology, these so-called “guardians” are placed on the canopy of trees in areas known to be at risk of illegal deforestation and logging. The guards then wait for trucks and chainsaws to approach and fire. At this point the device will automatically send a signal to those responsible for protecting the forest. However, checking and verifying the data (as well as getting to the website) can take days. At this point, much of the damage has already been done.

With Hitachi Vantara, Rainforest Connection was able to give its guards a significant boost. Hitachi’s specially developed data analysis platform can detect acoustic anomalies in the forest before a chainsaw is even switched on.

“Before starting a chainsaw, the loggers look for suitable locations, which changes the acoustic signatures of the species and disturbs the environment,” explains Rainforest Connection. “The Hitachi Vantara solution recognizes these warnings and alerts rangers in real time. Rangers using this technology have up to five hours lead time to arrive on site. This lead gives the rangers valuable time to position themselves and prevent even more deforestation than they can today. “

Hitachi’s bespoke algorithms generate a baseline of rainforest sounds called a “bioacoustic signature” that can identify unusual activity in the forest.

Rainforest Connection has already deployed the technology in Sumatra and plans to add it to all Guardians in more than 11 countries in 2021.

Rainforest Connection Guardian device. Rainforest connection

“The projects with Hitachi Vantara are groundbreaking for Rainforest Connection,” said Topher White, the company’s CEO, in a press release, adding, “We will be able to expand our operations and make rangers more secure in logging events Offer.” will likely happen. “

Gajen Kandiah, Hitachi Vantara CEO, said it was gratifying that his collaboration with Rainforest Connection “will have a major positive impact on global warming and the health of rainforests around the world.”

Rainforest Connection says the destruction of the rainforest leads to the extinction of hundreds of animal and plant species each year, leading to periods of drought and threatening indigenous reserves on several continents. Rainforests – and the health of our planet – are more important than ever.

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