Abundance Maps of Forest Products
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are the products that can be harvested from a rainforest without damaging its biodiversity. The global demand for these sorts of natural products is increasing. Bioverse’s technology helps the Amazonian people take advantage of this opportunity.
Luciano Quilombola collecting a Brazil Nut seed pod - Cachoeira Porteira - PA - Brazil,
With the support of UNICEF’s Innovation Fund, Bioverse has built and field-tested a combination of technologies that help the Kayapo and Quilombola people to locate more Brazil Nut trees. Each mature Brazil Nut tree can yield $1,500 USD per year. This is a direct pathway to enriching the local communities that protect the forest from the constant threat of logging, mining, and ranching.
The target area for the pilot was 400 sq kilometers and the community identified 680 trees during the baseline GPS-powered survey, lead by AFP (Associaçao Floresta Protegida). Bioverse’s work with UNICEF Innovation Venture Fund successfully identified 9,240 additional trees—an increase of 18X.
Satellite image and Brazil Nut spatial distribution from unsupervized ML based classification.
The project relied upon three different layers of technology. First, Bioverse used multispectral high resolution satellite imagery for a detailed picture of the forest canopy. Second, Bioverse used high resolution canopy images taken from drones. Third, Bioverse created a mobile application that provides in-hand Forest Abundance Maps.
For the community, these app-based Abundance Maps can be a true game changer. We work alongside the formal cooperatives of the participating communities to ensure that sensitive information (like tree locations) is only shared when, how and with whom the community decides. As the harvesting community grows accustomed to using these mobile tools, we at Bioverse can add to the power and the capacity of the app.
One-by-one, machine vision trained alongside beneficiary communities can help locate resources that will bring prosperity to the community. The mission of Bioverse is to protect biodiversity around the world. A core value of the company is to use our technology to identify only those resources that are valuable when they are left standing in a healthy web of life and to only locate those resources for and with the benefit of the communities who take responsibility for protecting the rainforest.
While these tools and services can help to improve the livelihoods of the harvesters in question, it is not yet viable for Bioverse to support its operating costs (or its R&D) from user fees. Therefore Bioverse is seeking to partner with established companies that are already part of the non-timber related forest products supply chain.
UAS borne image, Brazil Nut ground truth routine. Cachoeira Porteira - PA Brazil
In line with the digital development principles, Bioverse builds these products in close collaboration with the communities who use them, while helping them to protect their data and privacy. Bioverse is also helping to build the commons by making the machine learning aspects of the technology open source, which can benefit researchers, governments and other civil society organizations working with forests.