LONDON, July 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A new technique using artificial intelligence to predict where deforestation is most likely to occur could help the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) preserve its shrinking rainforest and cut carbon emissions, researchers have said. Congo's rainforest, the world's second-largest after the Amazon, is under pressure from farms, mines, logging and infrastructure development, scientists say. Protecting forests is widely seen as one of the cheapest and most effective ways to reduce the emissions driving global warming. But conservation efforts in DRC have suffered from a lack of precise data on which areas of the country's vast territory are most at risk of losing their pristine vegetation, said Thomas Maschler, a researcher at the World Resources Institute (WRI). "We don't have fine-grain information on what is actually happening on the ground," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) does more than make our technology smarter, it also protects the planet. Consider the work of researchers in the field of'Computational Sustainability' – a field of AI research making us better stewards of life on Earth. Despite being a relatively new research field, Computational Sustainability has already helped fight wildlife poaching, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, understand poverty, manage wildlife populations, and protect biodiversity. Each of these contributions address one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The collected progress of AI is addressing all SDGs, but I will highlight three specific cases.