Citizen science project lets you fight deforestation from your couch | The Optimist Daily: Making Solutions the News
Today’s Solutions: July 12, 2024

Much of our anxiety surrounding the climate crisis is driven by the feeling that we can do little to influence the rapidly changing climate. So, if you’re looking for a hands-on way to contribute to conservation, we’ve got a solution for you. And you don’t even have to leave your couch to take part. 

SAS, a systems analysis company, teamed up with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) to build an artificial intelligence model that can recognize signs of deforestation and they need citizen scientists to help them do so. In order to “train” the AI to recognize signs of deforestation in satellite images, the program is using dedicated volunteers to sort through images taken from space and look for clues. Citizen scientists who want to participate simply go to the program website and scan images for signs of human activity like cars, roads, or farm plots. This helps the AI learn where deforestation is being caused by human activity. 

IIASA has used citizen science to help identify deforestation around the globe. It’s not always an easy task. Differentiating between natural forest fire and a man-made clear cut sometimes requires a bit of human help. Since launching in April, users have analyzed nearly 41,000 images covering an area of land equivalent to the size of Montana. 

The more participation they get, the more accurate the AI data will be at detecting potential deforestation to inform intervention and conservation decisions. Moving forward, IIASA and SAS plan to expand their image analysis west to Peru and south into Bolivia. If you’re looking for a tangible way to contribute to conservation, we urge you to visit the website today and take part in meaningful citizen science!

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Florida carpenter ants: nature’s teeny tiny surgeons and wound care exp...

BY THE OPTIMIST DAILY EDITORIAL TEAM From building intricate nests to performing life-saving surgeries, Florida carpenter ants (Camponotus floridanus) are pushing the boundaries of ...

Read More

How to stop ‘stresslaxing’ and actually relax

BY THE OPTIMIST DAILY EDITORIAL TEAM Have you ever tried to relax but then wound up feeling more stressed? You are not alone. This ...

Read More

9 home interior design tips for longevity

The lives and habits of those who live in Blue Zones, otherwise known as the regions where the longest-living people on the planet live, ...

Read More

A new understanding of an old story—part IV of True American, a mini series

"Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat." - Audre Lorde Over the course of the ...

Read More