Saving Forests with Artificial Intelligence

By Norman Rusin The global trade in products made from illegally extracted timber is a multi-billion dollar industry. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates it to be worth between $30 billion and $100 billion annually. The practice not only threatens ancient forests and critical habitats for wildlife, but also results in significant economic and environmental problems for many developing countries. Clear-cutting is known to disrupt carbon in the soil. However, forest protection agencies face limited budgets and must cover large areas, making sound investments in security resources critical. AI to Prevent Illegal Logging, Save Forests A team of researchers is developing methods based on artificial intelligence (AI) to prevent illegal logging. Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC), the University of Texas at El Paso, and Michigan State University…

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