17 Jun

Rainforest Connection: “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, you still can”

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Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 10.15.58 AMRemote sensing is being used more and more to monitor illegal activities. For example satellite imagery is being used to catch illegal poaching of animals in Africa. Many of these projects are remotely sensing through satellite imagery. Rainforest Connections has thought of another way to observe a location remotely. This is through audio. Rainforest Connections takes old smartphones, wires them to solar panels for power, and attaches them to trees in the rainforest. This audio is listening for chainsaws.

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“If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

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Most of the deforestation in the rainforests around the world is illegal. This means that a huge contributor to climate change is being caused by illegal actions. By attaching these cell phones high up in trees, they can detect the noise of chainsaws, and report when people are logging in areas where it is illegal.

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The cell phones that are being used are old smartphones that people would otherwise throw away. This means that there is no waste from the cell phones. When people buy new phones they keep their old one in their drawer, throw it in the trash, or recycle it (4th Bin). Recycling phones take the materials that can be reused or sold and then they throw away the parts that cannot be reused. Donating your phone to Rainforest Connections not only uses all of the materials, but nothing gets thrown away, and it is being used to save trees in the rainforest. As Rainforest Connections puts it, they are “turning old phones into forest guardians.”

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This technology allows responsible agents to come to the site of the action and stop the perpetrators in the act. This will help save lots of trees that would have been cut down due to lack of knowledge of the event, or not knowing until after the fact. Rainforest Connections is striving to minimize climate change, mass extinctions, and illegal actions by upcycling old cell phones.

“If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, you still can.”

Written by: Elise Mazur, AGS Intern on June 17, 2015

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