Artificial intelligence could save the Amazon

There has been much discussion about the scope of artificial intelligence with the emergence of tools such as ChatGPT. However, there are other discoveries that could revolutionize environmental protection, such as what is happening in Brazil.

A novel AI tool could be the key to saving the Amazon, the endangered rainforest. A Brazilian environmental and non-profit group called Imazon developed PrevisIA, an artificial intelligence that can predict upcoming deforestation sites.

The objective of this group is to prevent deforestation, in order to avoid having to repair the damage caused by deforestation. According to the tool, the most endangered area is the APA (Environmental Protection Area) of the Triunfo do Xingu forest. In March alone, an area equivalent to more than 700 soccer fields was logged.

This area has an extension of more than 16 thousand square kilometers and, according to the tool, by the end of the year it is expected that 271.52 square kilometers will have been lost. In March, 5 square kilometers were lost and this is the area with the highest risk of deforestation according to PrevisIA.

What is the importance of this artificial intelligence tool for Amazon?

The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world. It is also home to numerous animal and plant species, many of them endangered or threatened. Some of them are the spider monkey, the hyacinth macaw or the jaguar. In addition, this is an area where there are species that do not exist in other parts of the world.

Deforestation is the main threat to this natural area, as it is the main cause of vegetation loss. There are numerous activities that threaten nature in this area, such as logging, mining and land grabbing, despite the fact that it is a protected area. Deforestation also affects the climate, which becomes drier due to the change in rainfall patterns. PrevisIA will make it possible to halt the accelerated deforestation process by detecting the most endangered areas and acting accordingly.

This is innovative because, according to Carlos Souza Jr., existing deforestation prediction models showed what would happen in 10 years or more. PrevisIA allows annual forecasts to be made, which provides greater scope for action.

How does PrevisIA artificial intelligence work?

This artificial intelligence tool focuses first on historical and geostatistical data. The following is an analysis of the variables that slow deforestation and those that make it more likely. The latter include the construction of illegal roads that facilitate illegal activities. This is one of the keys to predict and prevent deforestation, since these activities are the main drivers of deforestation. PrevisIA uses an algorithm that quickly analyzes maps of the Amazon and easily detects new routes and thus establishes areas where deforestation could occur.

According to Juliano Assunção, professor at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and executive director of the Climate Policy Initiative, PrevisIA is a natural evolution of the incorporation of technology in the fight to protect the Amazon. This is a tool with a lot of potential that could benefit many organizations. According to Assunção, this artificial intelligence will be useful not only for those related to the protection of the Amazon. There are companies such as banks or investors in the region that could make better economic and environmental decisions with the use of this tool.

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