Deforestation in the Amazon tripled in March of this year, compared to the same month in 2022. For this reason, an environmental organization developed a platform that, with artificial intelligence (AI), makes it possible to predict the sites that will be affected in the future.
The name of the tool is PrevisAI and it was created by Imazon, an environmental group from Brazil, which had the support of Microsoft to help this region.
During the first quarter of the year, 867 square kilometers of tropical forest were destroyed, which was the second largest area deforested in the last 16 years, according to data from the organization’s Deforestation Alert System (SAD).
Although prediction models for this type of situation already exist, the environmental group did not have enough precision for the issued alert to arrive in time to prevent the felling of trees, since many were generated in the long term years apart. .
For this reason, “we needed a new tool that could anticipate the devastation,” said Carlos Souza Jr, project coordinator for PrevisAI and SAD, who, together with a group of computer engineers, geostatistical experts and other researchers, developed the platform.
How Previs AI works
For its operation, this model has a double approach. In the first place, he carried out an analysis of the trends in the region, there he observed the historical data and the geostatistics of how deforestation has occurred in the Amazon.
They found that, for example, when the areas already logged are recent and companies are ginning their work equipment, there is a greater risk in nearby forests.
The other point was to take into account the variables that slow down deforestation, such as lands protected by indigenous communities, areas with bodies of water, and other lands that do not lend themselves to agricultural expansion.
After this artificial intelligence came into play.
PrevisAI works under an algorithm that automatically maps the sectors of the Amazon, performing a faster analysis and offering constant updates on the situation. A different job from that previously done by researchers who manually analyzed satellite images.
With this work, Microsoft and Fundo Vale provided the organization with a computational structure that would allow them to carry out the initiative and consolidate AI.
“Technology has always been the reason we were able to control deforestation.
PrevisAI is a natural evolution of this incorporation of technology in the fight to protect the Amazon, and one with a lot of potential,” Juliano Assunção, a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, told The Guardian.
The platform is already available for other entities to access it, such as government organizations, so Imazon already has agreements with authorities in the region to implement it.
For example, the Pará prosecutor’s office, in northern Brazil, has already had meetings to coordinate the use of artificial intelligence and have it ready for the second half of 2023.