Our Conservation Vision program applies cutting edge artificial intelligence techniques to satellite imagery to monitor environmental activities around the globe. As part of this, we are partnering with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) to identify protected areas and other valuable ecosystems where satellite imagery can document damaging changes in wildlife habitat, detect signs of poaching, or discover other activities threatening the world’s most endangered and iconic species.
Our first projects include documenting the destructive impacts of artisanal gold mining in Peru. Between 2013 and 2018, artisanal gold mining resulted in the removal of approximately 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) of Peruvian rainforest. Small-scale gold mining is the leading cause of habitat destruction in the southwest Amazon. These mines not only destroy wildlife habitat, they poison waterways with mercury, which is used as part of the mining process. Mercury can pollute water hundreds of miles from its source, poisoning fish, wildlife, and the Indigenous communities that rely on them for their livelihoods.
On September 30, 2020, SkyTruth was one of five winners in the ConservationXLabs Artisanal Mining Grand Challenge. We partnered with researchers at Wake Forest University and the Center for Amazonian Scientific Innovation to develop Project Inambari — a public mapping platform that detects mining activity in dense rainforest habitat using satellite radar and drone imagery. You can learn more about this project in our videos.
We are also applying our expertise in detecting oil and gas drilling using machine learning to habitat fragmentation in the Patagonian region of Argentina. And we’re working with land trusts in the Rocky Mountain West to help them monitor habitat changes in the many properties they protect.