Open-source maps are saving the rainforest—and the world

Meet the techno-optimists saving rainforests – and making their solution open source.
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In partnership with Skoll Foundation

On its own, the mighty Amazon jungle could capture around 600 million tons of CO2 per year, says Tasso Azevedo, one of Brazil’s leading environmental advocates. But human activity threatens to destroy not only the Amazon, but a variety of unique ecosystems, leaving in their place farms, gold mines and pasture lands.   

All of this is happening as the world faces a changing climate — the warmer and drier weather raising fire risks and making ecosystems less resilient.

But a coalition of NGOs, universities, and tech companies, are harnessing technology to help track land use across the vastness and diversity of Brazil. The collaborative project, called MapBiomas, uses satellite imagery to track and report human changes to ecosystems. With all of its data available publicly, MapBiomas is fighting not only climate change and environmental destruction, but crime, too.

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