World Wildlife Fund: AI Developed To Predict, Combat Deforestation

While some predict AI will take over the world, a team of computer scientists and artificial intelligence experts in the Netherlands believe they’ve found a way to use AI to save the world’s forests.

Forest Foresight, a program developed in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund-Netherlands, is an AI tool capable of predicting forest loss up to six months in advance with 80% accuracy, according to WWF. The AI reviews topography, population density and past forest cover to make its predictions, and it reads real-time satellite images to detect early deforestation indicators, such as expanding roads. It also alerts local authorities to deforestation threats.

The program has been piloted in Borneo and Gabon so far.

“In Gabon, Forest Foresight helped rangers detect and stop an illegal gold mine, protecting about 74 acres of forest,” WWF stated.

“Forest Foresight is a great example of using AI to get a better sense of environmental risks,” added David Thau, WWF’s global data and technology lead scientist. “I’m excited to see AI leveraged for conservation, including understanding how our actions improve conservation outcomes—or don’t.”

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