Recycled Smartphones Crack Down on Illegal Logging & Poaching

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Born out of a California technology startup, Rainforest Connection (RFCx), a new tool made from recycled smartphones will be tested to monitor and stop illegal logging and animal poaching. The first area that the technology will fully run is in Africa’s equatorial forests. It was first tested and proven successful in Indonesia in 2013.

In partnership with the Zoological Society of London, they are planning to install the new technology in Cameroon during 2014. The Found of RFCx, Randy Hayes, stated, “This is the most exciting critical tool I’ve seen that I think can help us get the job done.”

This new technology will provide instant alerts in real-time which will help combat devastation of trees and wildlife in threatened habitats worldwide. A single device protects 1 square kilometre, often home to over a thousand species of plants and animals. Current monitoring methods often rely on aerial surveys or satellite surveillance, which usually detect deforestation days or even weeks after the event.

The devices, built to operate for years, employ a unique solar panel design that can generate adequate electrical power even under the shadow of the tree canopy.

Chris Ransom, program manager for ZSL in Africa, said: “We think this could be a critical new tool for protecting large areas of rainforest. We’re excited to deploy it this year in collaboration with our local partners in Africa.”

Deforestation is a leading contributor to climate change and to global species extinction rates which are accelerating at 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. One of the highest since the dinosaurs walked the Earth. Deforestation today accounts for an estimated 17% of all carbon pollution.

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