Connecting communities for conservation

Deutsche Welle
30 April 2015

Crowd-sourced data can be useful for conservation but how can remote communities with no connectivity get involved? One NGO has an answer.

Drones, phones and apps: it’s all about the nexus between conservation and technology this week at Global Ideas. Currently, one of the major conservation-meets-new-tech trends is crowd-sourced data but what happens if remote communities don’t have phone or internet connectivity?

Rainforest Foundation UK has addressed this issue with a system allowing people to report illegal logging from anywhere in the world in real-time for the cost of a standard text message even minus the internet or a cell-phone reception.

Information about illegal activity, such as by palm oil companies, is collected using a smartphone or tablet and transmitted to an online map via a satellite modem transmitter in around 20 seconds. It’s then stored in a central database, assessed by experts and sent to law enforcement agencies once it’s been fully verified, according to a statement by the group.

With a new WWF ‘Living Forests’ report predicting up to 170 million hectares of forest could be destroyed in 11 of the world’s most important forested regions – including the Amazon – by 2030, the NGO hopes the crowd-sourced system could improve forest monitoring and governance.

Read more