Forest Innovation: How Tech and Google are Making a Difference



Hey there, tree huggers! It’s International Day of Forests, and we’ve got some seriously awesome news to share. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has partnered up with Google and other cool cats to bring some slick solutions to the table for monitoring and protecting our forests.

According to FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo, we’re right smack in the middle of a total forest data revolution. With fancy new technology, countries can now keep tabs on their forests like never before. And with a whopping 10 million hectares of forest being lost annually due to deforestation, and about 70 million hectares affected by fires, these new solutions couldn’t have come at a better time.

At the International Forest Day 2024 shindig, FAO showed off some seriously impressive advances in forest monitoring, early warning systems, and other tech-savvy solutions. The goal? Stop deforestation and forest degradation, while also helping out Indigenous Peoples by mapping and securing rights to customary land.

The UK has thrown its hat in the ring, coughing up a sweet $30 million to help fight deforestation and make sure Indigenous Peoples have a say in forest monitoring. Cheers to that, mates!

And hold onto your branches, because the real game-changer is the launch of Ground, a swanky new mobile app cooked up in cahoots with Google as part of FAO’s Open Foris initiative. This groovy app is made for non-techie folks in areas with dodgy internet, letting indigenous people and farmers gather info on their forested areas or farming patches. Ground is set to speed up restoration efforts, get small-fry farmers involved, and help demarcate land. How fabulous is that?

Open Foris, including SEPAL and Earth Map, has already been mostly embraced by countries, with 13.7 billion tonnes of forest emission reductions or improvements being reported. Now that’s what I call hitting it out of the park.

Google Earth bigwig Rebecca Moore is chuffed about the launch of Ground, calling it a map-based tool that anyone can use. It lets small-time farmers and local communities report data that’s important to their livelihoods, from the ground to the cloud. A win for Google, a win for forests – it’s a win-win, folks!

Thanks to FAO and Google joining forces, we can look forward to even more tech wizardry that will help us manage our forests sustainably and take on climate change like champs.

So, what’s the verdict? Isn’t it brilliant to see tech and innovation being used for the greater good of our forests? Let’s give a big round of applause to FAO, Google, and their partners for all their hard graft. It’s time to protect the forests, one app at a time!


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