Health In Harmony has partnered with Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts and Gunung Palung National Park in West Kalimantan Indonesia to test a pilot of real-time satellite visualizations of active logging within the boundary of the park and changes in carbon density of the forest over time. However, before doing all the back-end scientific analysis, we would like the help of a user interface expert to help us determine what would be the most effective way to display this data. Knowing where we want to get, will help us determine which data to create. This is not a trivial point given the volume of data which will need to be analyzed on an on-going basis.
While annual or semi-annual GIS analyses can currently be done of forest loss in national parks these are usually at least a year behind, though, when it is too late to do anything about it. National Park staff in Indonesia are extremely limited in resources but if they could know on a real-time basis where logging was occurring, those resources could be used strategically to quickly address the problem. For Health In Harmony and other environmental NGOs, this data would be useful not only to assist the national park staff in addressing logging but also to report to donors about the impact of forest conservation efforts over time -- especially if we can give them a carbon value of the return on their investment. Our plan is to start with one national park but once the algorithms are written using freely available satellite data and the data visualization dashboards is designed, our goal is for this to be spread first to all protected areas in Indonesia and then globally.
There are many different ways that logging and carbon stock data over time could be visualized but even slight differences could impact the way that the analyses are run. Given the massive data intensity of these calculations, we would prefer to work with user-interface and/or data visualization experts beforehand to make the process as efficient (and carbon-saving) as possible. There will also be various different users of this data (national park staff, community forest protectors, and donors) all of whom may be looking for something slightly different.
This project has the potential to dramatically decrease illegal logging within protected areas globally and galvanize donors throughout the world who may be more inclined to give when they know that they will be able to see the direct impact of their investment. If successful this work would be incorporated into a platform which would allow visualization of protected areas globally both in terms of forest cover and carbon stocks within the forest. While this is rarely discussed, if we lose the rainforests of our earth, it will simply be game over for the human species. This is because of the massive carbon stocks that are contained within those forests, because living trees absorb about 1/3 of the carbon dioxide humans emit annually, because forests are critical regulators of water (the rain in California comes from the Amazon), and because they contain half the world's species.
Scaling team and program teams both in the US and Indonesia.
Kinari Webb, Health In Harmony Founder, Ashley Emerson, Health In Harmony Program Director, Mahardika Purba, Program Director Alam Sehat Lestari in Indonesia.