Illegal Deforestation To Be Tracked, Google’s Machine Learning Framework Comes To Rescue

Researchers built the world’s first real-time detection and alert system for logging illegal activities and conserving forests. These “guardian” systems are hidden in trees to monitor sounds of the forest and send it to cloud-based servers.

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Illegal Deforestation To Be Tracked, Google's Machine Learning Framework Comes To Rescue
Google’s Machine Learning Framework To Save Trees From Cutting, Illegal Deforestation To Be Prevented

The climate change is one of the major problems the world has been facing. Many environmentalists and experts have been spreading awareness about how serious this issue is and what fatal conditions can occur in the future if it is not controlled. Many species of animals and plants can go extinct if necessary measures are not taken to control climate change. Moreover, there will be adverse effects on human beings. Only awareness will not be sufficient, taking necessary measures is of utmost importance. One of the important measures is to lower the emission of greenhouse gases. To lower the emission, prevention of deforestation is necessary. Nearly 20 percent of greenhouse gas emission occurs due to destruction of forests. Up to 90 percent of deforestation is carried out illegally. Protection of rainforests will lower the rate of climate change.

Technology can play a crucial role in a fight against climate change and protection of rainforests. Rainforest Connection is a group of developers and engineers established to help local tribes protect their land with the help of technology. Researchers and engineers at Google have been striving to find out ways in which technology can stop illegal loggers from destroying rainforests in the Central Amazon region. They came up with a plan to address this concern using recycled cellphones and machine learning. They built the world’s first real-time detection and alert system for logging illegal activities and conserving forests. Though it was challenging to build a hardware that will survive in rainforest, they used trees to hide modified smartphones that are powered by solar panels. These “guardian” devices are hidden in trees to monitor sounds of the forest and send it to cloud-based servers.

Once cloud servers receive audio data, Google’s machine learning framework TensorFlow is used to analyze the audio data in real time. This framework listens to sounds of chainsaws, logging trucks, and others to determine if any illegal activity is carried out. Audio data is sent from every device for 24 hours a day and seven days a week. TensorFlow is used for its ability to analyze each layer of data during the detection process. The machine learning framework used in TensorFlow is versatile and uses capabilities of AI techniques with deep learning in a unified platform. This framework is used for better detection by tweaking audio inputs. This process is impossible to execute without implementation of machine learning.

Rainforest Connection also intends to involve kids in this program as they will be inheriting the planet. In collaboration with Google, it launched “Planet Guardians” program with involvement of hundreds of students from Los Angeles STEM science programs. These students will interact with tribes at Central Amazon through Google Hangouts and build their own Guardian devices that can be installed in jungles. They projected that the Guardian devices build by LA students can save rainforests spanning over nearly 100,000 acres by 2020. The effective usage of technology to fight against climate change will lead to protect environment and healthy future.

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