I created Bunjil Forest Watch to help local people protect their forests. The loss of biodiversity that occurs when an old forest is cleared concerns me, especially reserves containing rare plants and animals. I am also concerned about forest loss because forests help reduce catastrophic climate change. Climate change is also adding to the stress that forests are under. Without the forests, the planet is in really big trouble.
I wondered if satellites could be used to detect the land clearing as it occured. I wondered whether technology could be used to make that information available to people trying to guard protected reserves. With this prototype, I hope to find out!
I started researching in 2008, writing an article for a technical journal in 2009 and then contributing a chapter to the book Deforestation. A team of students from Swinburne built the first prototype. I started this prototype that uses Google Earth Engine in 2013.
Using open-source and cloud hosting, I hope to create a service at no cost to the end users, and requires no training, affiliations or licenses. I hope to take forest monitoring out of the government forest department and give the tools to local communities who have limited access to technology, bandwidth or cash.