Microsoft Announces AI That Helps Prevent Amazon Deforestation

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Microsoft: A new Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform was launched this Wednesday (4) to facilitate actions to prevent and combat deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. The PrevisIA tool, developed by Microsoft, the Amazon Institute of Man and Environment (Imazon) and the Vale Fund, anticipates information on regions susceptible to deforestation and fires.

The algorithm analyzes data on topography, land cover and legal and illegal roads in satellite images, to find risks of felling trees or fire and inform public agencies to carry out prevention and combat actions. Alerts generated by the platform are also open to the public on an initiative’s dashboard.

Microsoft Azure cloud capabilities and Imazon’s AI algorithm to detect roads helped improve the deforestation risk model to identify territories most threatened by deforestation in the Amazon, such as Indigenous Lands and Conservation Units.

Amazon at risk

The risk map offered by the PrevisIA platform indicates that 9,635 km2 of the Amazon forest will be vulnerable to deforestation or fire in March 2022. The area represents 29% of the entire Legal Amazon and covers municipalities, conservation units and indigenous lands, in addition to quilombola communities and rural settlements.

São Félix do Xingu (Pará), border of illegal mining and beef cattle raising, is the municipality with the highest risk identified by the platform, followed by Colniza (Mato Grosso), Lábrea (Amazonas) and Porto Velho, capital of Rondônia.

Among the Conservation Units with the greatest vulnerability are the Campos Amazônicos National Park (between Amazonas and Rondônia), the Tapajós Environmental Protection Area and the Amana National Forest (both in Pará).

According to PrevisIA, the territories occupied by the Yanomami, Apyterewa, Karipuna peoples, as well as the Xingu and Araguaia parks, which shelter different ethnic groups, are among the most threatened by environmental destruction.

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