THURSDAY 13 JUNE, 2013 |
Solar Powered Cell Phones To Monitor Illegal Logging
A pilot project is about to get under way where cell phones will be used to
listen for the sounds of illegal logging.
Rainforest Connection aims to combat illegal tree poaching by using modern cell
phone and Internet technology to act as an early warning signal, initially in
the forests of Indonesia.
Devices will be installed in trees and will continually monitor for unnatural
sounds such as the very distinctive buzz of chainsaws; a sound that can carry
over quite a distance. It's hoped the phones will be able to detect a chainsaw
operating within a 500 metre radius. When an abnormal signal is detected, it
will be transmitted to an online central database and an alert triggered in real
time; allowing agents to intervene.
Data generated through the platform will also be made freely available to allow
software developers to build real-time apps.
"In doing so, rainforest surveillance becomes a low-cost, crowdsourced,
scalable endeavor, and we are able to tap the unlimited resources of a growing
worldwide population of tech-savvy eco-enthusiasts," says the Rainforest
According to an article on New
, the phones will be connected to solar panels able to harvest
energy during brief periods when light reaches the forest floor.
15 monitoring stations will be used in the pilot project, which will occur in the 25,000-hectare Air Tarusan reserve in western
Sumatra. New Android based phones will be used in the pilot; but Rainforest
Connection has put
out a call
for donations of used phones running Android version 2.2 (Froyo) or higher
to be used in other projects.
According to the WWF, 73% of timber production in Indonesia is believed to be
sourced through illegal logging. A 2012 joint study by the United Nations Environment Programme and Interpol
found illegal logging accounts for up to 30% of the global logging trade.
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