In Indonesia, illegal logging and the deliberate act of deforestation causes the loss of millions of hectares of natural vegetation. Historically, there has been little done to monitor and protect forests from a depressing fate besides numerous conservations and organisations educating us on the issue.
Introducing Topher White, founder of conservation and not for profit Rainforest Connection; a platform geared towards generating real-time data on deforestation in an effort to abolish illegal tree poaching. White has devised a system that will alert rangers of illegal logging with the aid of outdated Android smartphones.
The project is currently in the pilot stage and is being tested in the Air Tarusan Reserve, Sumatra. Solar powered phones, that can be donated to the organisation, are attached to trees with the microphone permanently switched on. The software is programmed to detect and monitor abnormal signals and audible frequencies such as a chainsaw, that are then transmitted to an internet based database. An alert is then sent to rangers with the location of the recorded disturbance, in real-time.
Alerts are currently only sent to rangers, however White has plans to
release a free app on a larger scale that would “make people feel like they are taking part in the dramatic events on the front lines of environmental protection.” Additionally, White hopes to make the phone placement and alert system a locally driven initiative to involve the community nearest to the destruction (sourced from PSFK).
However according to PSKF,
releasing the information on a larger scale could pose problems with people taking matters into their own hands, or even inadvertently tipping-off the very people doing the illegal logging.