GainForest

Brief Project Information
Get investments on endangered forests

SDG
More information about the project

Deforestation is one of the significant contributors of greenhouse gases and drivers of climate change. Much of that deforestation comes from local farmers trying to make their living, which presents the possibility of combating it by offering financial incentives to preserve the trees. In many areas, such as the Amazon forest, it would be too time-consuming and difficult to determine who has the legal claim to be the caretaker for a particular section of forest. AI researcher David Dao and his team came up with an innovative alternative: help make everyone a caretaker of the forestbyletting anyoneput a financial stake in its well-being and earning a higher repayment when it is conserved. Through AI technologies on Microsoft Azure, including machine learning and blockchain-enabled smart contracts, Dao was able to make this concept, GainForest, a reality. David DaoGainForestLast updated: 6/28/2019SummaryDeforestation is one of the significant contributors of greenhouse gases and drivers of climate change. Much of that deforestation comes from local farmers trying to make their living, which presents the possibility of combating it by offering financial incentives to preserve the trees. In many areas, such as the Amazon forest, it would be too time-consuming and difficult to determine who has the legal claim to be the caretaker for a particular section of forest. AI researcher David Dao and his team came up with an innovative alternative: help make everyone a caretaker of the forestbyletting anyoneput a financial stake in its well-being and earning a higher repayment when it is conserved. Through AI technologies on Microsoft Azure, including machine learning and blockchain-enabled smart contracts, Dao was able to make this concept, GainForest, a reality.Fighting deforestation with deep learning and smart contracts Although forestspull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, helping to maintain the global temperatureand mitigate climate change, the converse is also true. Deforestation does not just reduce that capacityfor carbon storage, it also adds that carbon back into the atmosphere. As the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) documents, deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Manyof the criticallyendangered areas are tropical rainforests withhigh biodiversity, such as the Amazon, which has lost 17percentof its forest in the past 50 years. Most of that loss (around 80 percent) is due to local farmers clearing the forest for cattle ranchingor crops. This process not only reduces the forest but also exhausts the soil after providingonly a short-term burst of fertility, perpetuating the demand for more forest clearing. As deforestation continues, it drives further calamitous climate change—in addition to reducing biodiversity, changingwater cycles, increasing erosion, and disrupting societies Making this method work arethree technology-enabled parts. First, combining satellite photography with AI image analysis enables automated monitoring of the forests, to easily determine where the trees are being preserved and where they are being removed. Second, a machine learning algorithm can be trained to predict which areas of a forest are at risk of deforestation, and how great thatrisk is. This part helps set the rewards for investing in the forest—the higher the risk for a section to be removed, the greater the reward if it’s preserved. Third, smart contracts using blockchain technology enable the efficient, transparent, and highly secure transfer of funds based on the AI-verifiedstatus of the forest. People may also choose to be donors to support the forest conservation, without receiving a financial return, and in this case the system again provides verification of its success. Following the COP23 hackathon, Dao and his team developed their concept and these partsinto the GainForestinitiative. The above content is cited from https://ai4edatasetspublicassets.blob.core.windows.net/grantee-profiles/ETH%20Zurich_WE_LATAM_US_Ag_AI4E%20Grantee%20Profile.pdf
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