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Amazon Deforestation has reached a 15 year high
Home to about three million species of plants and animals, the Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world. At the current rate of deforestation, 27% of the Amazon will be without trees by 2030.
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Primary Causes of Deforestation
Beef and soy are the leading drivers of tropical deforestation in the Amazon, comprising over two-thirds of the recorded habitat loss. Increasing infrastructure, such as road building, has a large indirect effect through opening up forests to settlers and agriculture. This gives way to illegal mining and wood harvesting. This destruction leaves a landscape of vulnerable degraded forests which are perfect for natural forest fires. Overall, many of the effects from deforestation simultaneously serve as causes of its continued devastation.
The demand for soy and beef have increased rapidly over the past 50 years. Since 1960, the areas used to grow both products have more than quadrupled.
Despite promises to slow down the annually deforested area by the end of his term, President Jair Bolsonaro and his government have been heavily criticized for loosening environmental restrictions and constraining the work of regulatory agencies since taking office in 2019. Since Bolsonaro's arrival, deforestation and fire in the Amazon have risen to their highest levels in more than a decade.
The Leading Contributors
Cultivation of soy and beef, along with fires and farming make up the leading causes of deforestation. Together they exist in a cycle of issues that are both causes and effects to deforestation.
#1 - Cows
#2 - Fire
#3 - Soy
#4 - Farming
What Can be Done?
There are many ways you can directly make an impact towards reducing deforestation.
Reducing your use in products that contribute to deforestation is one way to help save the Amazon Rainforest. These products include wood, paper, palm oil and beef. Buying recycled products and continuing to recycle is also a great way to get involved.
We as consumers carry the power to drive down demand for products contributing to deforestation. Without this demand, companies will reduce the supply and lessen the damage being done.
About This Website
We are promoting awareness of deforestation to help conservationists in their fight against rainforest decay. Our image recognition model trained on satellite images of the Amazon and was used to determine the level of deforestation on satellite images such as these.
Using a large dataset containing satellite images of the Amazon Rainforest, we constructed a deep learning image recognition model to detect evidence of deforestation. After training the model on these images, we were able to gather relatively accurate predictions on general satellite imagery of the Amazon.
After gathering predictions on a subset of neighboring landscapes, we stitched them together to create a reference image of the full landscape spanned by the images.
We then used the reference and the model's predictions to construct a 3D illustration of the territory. This illustration included features that showcased what the deep learning model found in the reference images. That 3D illustration is what you are interacting with here!
Consider getting involved with organizations leading the fight against deforestation.
“We preserve forests, protect the climate and uphold human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns.”
“When we bring the right problem-solvers together, we see the challenges more clearly. With that know-how and insight, we take action in ways that endure.”
“The Rainforest Fund supports programs that cover a range of issues from protection of civil and political rights of Indigenous and tribal peoples, to the promotion and defense of their social, economic, and cultural rights; including the protection of rights to their land and against the destructiveness of resource exploitation.”
“Since 1996, Amazon Watch has protected the rainforest and advanced the rights of Indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. We partner with Indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability, and the preservation of the Amazon's ecological systems.”
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What Can I Do?
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