Satellites are mapping out every tree on earth using artificial intelligence

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Scientists have mapped 1.8 billion individual tree canopies across millions of kilometres of the Sahel and Sahara regions of West Africa. It is the first time ever that trees have been mapped in detail over such a large area.

So how was it possible? Researchers analysed a huge database of satellite images using artificial intelligence. They employed neural networks which are able to recognise objects, like trees, based on their shapes and colours.

To train it, the AI system was shown satellite images where trees had been manually traced. This involved lead author Martin Brandt going through the arduous process of identifying and labelling nearly 90,000 trees himself, beforehand.

From these images, the computer learnt what a tree looked like and could pick out individual canopies from the thousands of images in the database. Brandt says it would have taken millions of people years to identify the trees without the AI system.

In a review of the research, commissioned by Nature, scientists at New Mexico State University wrote that “it will soon be possible, with certain limitations, to map the location and size of every tree worldwide”

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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says over 300 companies have agreed to help plant one trillion trees

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Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2020

KEY POINTS

  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said Thursday that over 300 companies have joined his latest initiative to plant 1 trillion trees by the end of the decade.
  • President Donald Trump announced U.S. government support for the initiative on Tuesday.
  • Environmental activist Greta Thunberg criticized the initiative in her keynote speech at the WEF on Tuesday for not doing enough to counter climate change.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, whose known for badgering tech executives to be more civic-minded, said Thursday that over 300 companies have joined his latest initiative to plant one trillion trees by the end of the decade.

“Nobody’s against trees,” he said in an interview with “Squawk on the Street” co-host Sara Eisen from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “The tree is also a bipartisan issue.”

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Trees improve your health, and researchers develop tool to show exactly where cities should plant them

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Pollution levels decrease and the health of people improves when cities plant trees. Studies show that America’s trees save thousands of lives a year, mainly by preventing breathing-related problems (they also make you feel like you have more money, if you’re into that sort of thing).

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When trees die so do people

When the U.S. Forest Service looked at mortality rates in counties affected by the emerald ash borer, they found increased mortality rates among people.

In June 2002 was when the blight was first detected in the trees in Canton, Michigan.  The emerald ash borer had come from overseas and was quickly spreading – a literal bug – across state and national lines to Ohio, Minnesota, and Ontario.  It spread to more distant and seemingly random locations as the infested trees were shipped beyond the Midwest.

 

 

 

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San Francisco Could Become 1st U.S. City to Ban Unsolicited Phone Books

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Yellow Pages distributors will be required to ask businesses and residents if they would like a copy.

San Francisco could become the first city in the country to require distributors of the Yellow Pages to ask businesses and residents if they would like a copy of the hefty tome before leaving it on the doorstep, under new legislation introduced today.

 

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Study: WiFi Makes Trees Sick

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City trees are becoming sick from wireless radiation from local area networks and mobile phones.

Radiation from Wi-Fi networks is harmful to trees, causing significant variations in growth, as well as bleeding and fissures in the bark, according to a recent study in the Netherlands. Radiation from Wi-Fi networks is harmful to trees, causing significant variations in growth, as well as bleeding and fissures in the bark, according to a recent study in the Netherlands.

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Critically Endangered Tree Frog Bred for First Time

An adult La loma tree frog (Hyloscirtus colymba) Now you know!

As frogs around the world continue to disappear — many killed by a rapidly spreading disease called chytridiomycosis, which attacks the skin cells of amphibians — one critically endangered species has received an encouraging boost.

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