The Vale Fund, a non-profit civil society association established by Vale, together with Microsoft and the Instituto do Homem e Meio Ambiente da Amazônia (Imazon – “the Institute of Man and the Environment of the Amazon” in English)officially launched PrevisIA, a tool that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide information on regions of the Amazon at high risk of deforestation and fires. This tool, which aims to help protect the Amazon rainforest during the dry season that began in June 2021, was presented today at a virtual event attended by Hugo Barreto, director of Sustainability and Social Investment at Vale; Tânia Cosentino, president of Microsoft Brasil; and Carlos Souza Jr., associate researcher at Imazon.
PrevisIA will analyze diverse data variables such as topography, land cover, urban infrastructure, legal and illegal roads and socioeconomic data to identify possible trends in forest conversion from deforestation. Using advanced computer cloud capabilities from Microsoft Azure and the AI algorithm developed by Imazon to detect roads in satellite images, PrevisIA has enhanced the deforestation risk model to identify the different types of territories threatened by deforestation in the Amazon, including Indigenous Lands and Conservation Units.
The initiative will publicly disclose the information in from the control panel which can be used by public agencies to plan and carry out preventative measures to combat and control deforestation. Imazon will promote the PrevisIA platform with the stakeholders that can best benefit from this solution. “The major breakthrough of this project was to democratize access to advanced Information Technology resources to facilitate the involvement of several users in preventing and controlling deforestation in the Amazon”, said Carlos Souza Jr, an associate researcher at Imazon.
The initiative is part of Vale's strategy to become carbon neutral by 2050. The company, which already contributes to protecting nearly 1 million hectares of forests around the world, including 800 thousand hectares in the Amazon, recently announced that it intends to recover and protect another 500 thousand hectares of native forest by 2030. Artificial Intelligence can help Vale achieve this forest goal.
"The system has the potential to also be used to determine areas of forest restoration and vulnerability to fire, helping to generate more concrete data for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) arrangements, which may be adopted by Vale in carbon credit markets”, explains Vale Fund´s director of Operations, Patrícia Daros. Last year, the company launched the Amazon Manifesto, in which it reaffirms the company´s commitment to promote sustainable development in the region.
A year and a half ago, Microsoft announced its commitment to be carbon negative, water positive, and to create a “planetary computer” to collect data that will help improve biodiversity worldwide; PrevisIA is one of the initiatives supported by Microsoft which uses European Space Agency satellite images with artificial intelligence image recognition, to generate deforestation forecasts. Microsoft's experience over this period has shown that the basis for almost all progress is the combination of precise standards, real economic incentives, and effective technology-based measurements. The partnership between the Vale Fund and Imazon is the result of a belief that powerful partnerships can accelerate progress around the world.
“At Microsoft, we believe that Artificial Intelligence can help solve our planetary and societal challenges. Preserving the environment, without a doubt, is one of those challenges. As part of our commitment to biodiversity, we took responsibility for our footprint on Earth and a few years ago we launched the AI for Good program, where we made USD 165 million available over a five-year period to provide funding, technology and expertise to individuals and NGOs. The initiatives of this project are divided into five pillars, one of which is AI for Earth, which, among the initiatives supported in Brazil, includes the partnership with Vale Fund and Imazon”, highlights Tânia Cosentino, president of Microsoft Brasil.