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How AI Can Help Save Forests


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A wildfire.

Artificial intelligence is assisting in preparing for, suppressing and recovering from wildfires.

Credit: Elias Funez/Associated Press

Scientists are developing artificial intelligence (AI)-driven methods to aid forest conservation by enabling a new level of real-time awareness.

Foresters in California are hoping to prevent or mitigate future wildfires via a forest-clearing plan that relies largely on remotely sensed data and machine learning (ML).

Meanwhile, the Global Forest Watch is integrating radar data to penetrate clouds that conceal tropical areas.

To reduce false positives of deforestation, consumer-goods company Unilever hired Descartes Labs to apply ML techniques to better differentiate between vegetation of forests requiring protection, and palm plantations where deforestation is necessary.

In the hope of helping to create a sustainable trade in carbon offsets, forestry data company SilviaTerra employs AI to process satellite imagery of various tree species and time periods, calculating size and species based on factors like when leaves start changing color in fall.

From The Wall Street Journal
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