Crowd-Driven Deep Learning Tracks Amazon Deforestation

McCallum, I. ORCID:, Walker, J., Fritz, S. ORCID:, Grau, M., Hannan, C., Hsieh, I-S., Lape, D., Mahone, J., et al. (2023). Crowd-Driven Deep Learning Tracks Amazon Deforestation. Remote Sensing 15 (21) e5204. 10.3390/rs15215204.

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The Amazon forests act as a global reserve for carbon, have very high biodiversity, and provide a variety of additional ecosystem services. These forests are, however, under increasing pressure, coming mainly from deforestation, despite the fact that accurate satellite monitoring is in place that produces annual deforestation maps and timely alerts. Here, we present a proof of concept for rapid deforestation monitoring that engages the global community directly in the monitoring process via crowdsourcing while subsequently leveraging the power of deep learning. Offering no tangible incentives, we were able to sustain participation from more than 5500 active contributors from 96 different nations over a 6-month period, resulting in the crowd classification of 43,108 satellite images (representing around 390,000 km2). Training a suite of AI models with results from the crowd, we achieved an accuracy greater than 90% in detecting new and existing deforestation. These findings demonstrate the potential of a crowd–AI approach to rapidly detect and validate deforestation events. Our method directly engages a large, enthusiastic, and increasingly digital global community who wish to participate in the stewardship of the global environment. Coupled with existing monitoring systems, this approach could offer an additional means of verification, increasing confidence in global deforestation monitoring.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: deforestation; crowdsourcing; machine learning
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability (NODES)
Strategic Initiatives (SI)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2023 09:02
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2023 09:02

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