Returning to our senses

An introduction to how human senses can be incorporated into design principles.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest…

BRAZIL BEGAN USING SATELLITE imaging to monitor deforestation during the 1980s. This was the first large-scale, coordinated response to loggers and ranchers who had been illegally clearing the rainforests, and it worked, for a time. To avoid being spotted, loggers and ranchers began working more discreetly in smaller areas that were harder to detect (see Figure 1-1).1 This required a new approach to monitoring the forests.

A view powered by Google Earth Engine showing global deforestation
Figure 1-1. A view powered by Google Earth Engine showing global deforestation

Google Earth Engine and the Brazilian NGO, Imazon, worked together to create more powerful environmental monitoring capabilities. Their collaboration identified and mapped a much wider range of deforestation in much greater detail. With new analysis techniques for satellite imagery, they were able to classify forest topologies within the rainforest. This improved the

of regional assessments, both for their contribution to the surrounding ecosystem and their vulnerability to human damage. They monitored the emergence of unofficial roads that marked new human activity. They modeled the environmental risks posed by agriculture, logging, and ranching to protected areas of the Amazon. They were also able to project future scenarios to help plan a more effective management strategy that balanced human land use with forest preservation.

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