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New AI Tool Helps Forecast Amazon Deforestation

A new artificial intelligence tool co-developed by Microsoft utilizes artificial intelligence to forecast which areas in the Amazon Forest are prone to deforestation. The tool is called PrevisIA. The tool has identified nearly 10,000 square kilometers in the Amazon that are at risk of being destroyed within the next year. The size of land at risk is equivalent to the size of Cyprus.

The tool uses satellite imagery from the European Space Agency, as well as an algorithm created by Brazillian nonprofit Imazon, to determine which areas are in most danger of being deforested. Developers of the tool suggest that it can be used in any forested area on Earth.

The tool will be used in partnerships with local governments, corporations, and nonprofits for preventative actions. The project aims to build partnerships with local governments and institutions to engage in preventative actions. Imazon researcher Carlos Souza Jr. suggests that this is the most difficult part of the entire project. The tool can also directly contribute to the assessments of carbon credit project development organizations that are searching for locations to protect and conserve existing carbon sinks such as rainforests. The tool can assist in additional decision-making for nature restoration and conservation companies. 

Souza Jr. has stated that the project aims to attract the financial sector, as they are capable of preventing deforestation. Initiatives like carbon credits and investments in forestry could be implemented to incentivize companies in the financial sector to protect these areas of forest.

Souza J. is relying on municipalities and state governments to get involved in deforestation prevention efforts. Local prosecutors’ offices are also becoming allies in conservation efforts. The federal government does not have any open lines of communication with project leaders. Instead, it adopts an anti-environment stance. He suggests that keeping the forests standing will actually make them more profitable. Agricultural consumers have begun to boycott Brazil due to the country’s deforestation practices.

Souza Jr. believes that partnerships with corporations can aid environmental conservation efforts. Companies are engaging in the PrevisIA project by using their expertise to aid the project’s progress instead of just donating money.

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