AmazonTEC 2020 Key Takeaways: Advancements of Technology for the Conservation of the Amazon

October 29, 2020

Amazontec Day 2 FlyerAmazonTEC is a premier forum for discussing science and technology’s connection to policy and governance in the Amazon. Developed by Amazon Conservation’s Peruvian sister organization Conservación Amazónica – ACCA, AmazonTEC brings together forest users, technology experts, NGOs, governments, and other stakeholders in a forum to discuss the use of cutting-edge technology (satellites, mobile apps, drones, and more) in the advancement of public policy for environmental protection in the Amazon.

In the second of five sessions of the annual AmazonTEC event, titled Vanguardia Tecnológica: Avances y Tendencias de Tecnologías Aplicadas a la Conservación de la Amazonía, viewers learned about the latest advances in technology for conservation with specialists from NASA, CONCYTEC Peru, Google Earth Engine, and MAPBiomas. Click here to watch the recording of the second session (in Spanish).

Fabiola León Velarde, President of the National Council of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation (CONCYTEC) in Perú started the event saying that, “sustainable development is not possible without science, technology and innovation. That is why the member countries of the United Nations have committed ourselves to meet the sustainable development goals with science. Today we call for others to join in on our efforts — from the government, academia, cooperation organizations, and civil society to face the challenges confronting our Amazon.” 

Sidney Novoa, Director of Technology for Conservation of Conservación Amazónica-ACCA, presented the panelists and Humberto Balbuena, Director of Environmental Policy and Governance spoke about advancements and challenges in the use of technology from the perspective of public policies and institutions.

Dan Irwin at Amazontec Dan Irwin, Research Scientist at NASA and Global Program Manager of SERVIR then gave a presentation about the newest satellites used to monitor the Amazon saying, “Satellites allow us to make pioneering observations. By combining the information, we can see our planet as an interconnected system — see the present, know the past, and forecast the future. The use of satellites has changed the way we monitor environmental issues on a global level. Now the information coming from the Amazon is produced in almost real time. Collaboration between hubs allows us to develop global and local tools.”

Julia Shimbo AmazontecJulia Zanin Shimbo, Scientific Coordinator of MapBiomas in Brazil followed with an overview of technology as an instrument in the sustainable management of the Amazon, saying that the “MAPBIOMAS alerts and validates images with dates before and after deforestation. We have more than 90 organizations that monitor and use these reports to issue fines and pursue legal action. All data is publicly available.”

Noel Gorelick at AmazontecThe next speaker was Noel Gorelick, software engineer at Google. Noel Gorelick spoke about the Google Earth Engine platform, “When a researcher has results we help them deploy it to the web w/ Earth Engine apps. With a click, you can take your analysis & present it as an interactive website that decision-makers or the general public can interact with.” Currently, the MAAP real-time fire monitoring app is built using the Google Earth Engine platform. Click here to read more. 

Lucio Villa at AmazonTECLucio Villa, who plays a significant role in the fire monitoring app, expanded upon Gorelick’s presentation saying that, “MAAP works with Cloud Computing technologies for monitoring deforestation. Mining detection works with GEE tools for processing, CEO for validation, and RAMI for data delivery to the community.”

Jorge Abad, of the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru added the technology they use saying, “We use remote sensors to understand the dynamics of Amazonian rivers in Ucayali and Loreto. Technology allows us to link the geomorphology of rivers and fish diversity. Rios Danzantes facilitates access to the results” 

Amazontec Day 2 photo of all panelistsGeneral Javier Martín Tuesta, National Commission for Aerospace Research and Development (CONIDA), Peru spoke about their recent agreement with OSINFOR, Peru’s forest inspection agency, to strengthen the fight against deforestation.

Day 2 Amazontec infographicMikaela Weisse, Project Manager at Global Forest Watch – World Resources Institute (WRI), USA stressed that the most urgent need is to “have more and more up-to-date alerts on deforestation. I think more systems must be created based on radar information.”

Sidney Novoa added that, “Everything that has been invested in technology is paying off at a crucial time. The role that science is playing is very important to control issues from misinformation to the most urgent needs of the population.”

Click here to read more takeaways from #AmazonTEC2020: