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A new startup of NASA scientists has designed a platform called CTrees which uses artificial intelligence to track exactly how much carbon the earth’s three trillion trees are storing. This can help scientists figure out to what extent trees are helping our planet.
CTrees have a simple motto: “see the forest and the tree.” By using AI, the startup can analyze satellite and aerial data together with local data from inventories and in that way really account for every single tree on the planet. The new platform can see when trees are lost to fires or are cut down thanks to new satellite images, which also can see tree growth. This makes it possible for researchers to estimate the total carbon (both stored and released).
Fast Company writes that the methods, based on two decades of science, “come close to the accuracy of the gold standard” of on-the-ground measurement, says Sassan Saatchi, a senior scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who is helping lead CTrees as a side project.
The thing that makes CTrees stand out compared to other similar startups is their capability to look at the bigger, global picture while also being able to be very specific and take a closer look at specific projects or data from different regions or countries. Their program can even zoom in on specific trees thanks to the high resolution data from commercial satellites.
CTrees website will offer their annual forest data for free and the information will include global and national numbers. If someone wants to calculate and measure carbon on a specific project will have to pay a fee which is yet to be determined.