Saving the rainforests with data science and the cloud

By Kristen Roy posted 12-18-2020 19:51

Saving the rainforests with data science and the cloud

Global warming is one of the biggest crises facing the human race. Up to 10% of global carbon emissions are caused by deforestation, and up to 90% of deforestation is attributed to illegal logging.

Hitachi Vantara has partnered with Rainforest Connection to harness the power of big data and the cloud on their mission of preventing illegal logging.

Founded by engineer Topher White in 2013, Rainforest Connection is a non-profit dedicated to detecting illegal logging using bio-acoustics. It works with mobile technologies in the treetops, known as guardians, which record acoustic data and uploads it to the cloud.

By analyzing this data, Rainforest Connection can identify logging events by sounds such as chainsaws, gunshots and trucks. It works closely with rangers on the ground to alert them to possible illegal logging events so they can investigate and potentially stop the activity.

Using AI to predict logging events

Rainforest Connection has been working with Hitachi Vantara since February 2020 to improve its detection capabilities and scalability. The non-profit is working closely with our Data Science experts to develop an AI disturbance model that will make the analytics and insights more predictive. Through machine learning, the model will detect acoustic anomalies in the forest - such as birds flying away or animals communicating – to provide advance warning of logging.

So far, it’s been a great success, as Matt Colon, Senior Advisor in Digital Solutions at Hitachi Vantara, confirms, “We developed two models, and one in particular is proving very effective in our tests. It’s now able to predict a logging event with 80% accuracy, which means Rainforest Connection can get alerts to rangers earlier and with greater confidence.”

The team is currently refining the model with data from Sumatra’s rainforests, and hopes to adapt it to work in other locations in the future.

Partnering with Google to maximize agility

As all this analysis is run in the cloud, Rainforest Connection also needs a highly agile, scalable platform to support it. We’re currently working in partnership with Rainforest Connection and Google Cloud to ensure the non-profit has an environment that can deliver greater flexibility and security, plus a low cost of ownership.

As a recipient of the Google AI for Social Good grant, Rainforest Connection has been awarded credits to use with Google Cloud. Hitachi Vantara is helping them take advantage of these credits by building ia cloud-agnostic platform that will run seamlessly on the Google Kubernetes Engine.

Thanks to our long-term strategic partnership with Google Cloud, Rainforest Connection can ensure it has access to the latest technologies and best-practice processes. “The new platform provides continuous delivery (CD) and continuous integration (CI) so Rainforest Connection can deliver updates faster, more easily and with greater confidence,” explains Ian Sinclair, CTO at Hitachi Vantara Canada. “It also includes integrated automated security checks, code coverage and unit tests so developers have the freedom to experiment.”

Part two of the project involves leveraging the composable Cloud Data Lake solution core and services from Hitachi Vantara, which will enable Rainforest Connection to take advantage of advanced features while maintaining a low IT overhead. This will provide the foundation of a highly scalable collaborative ecosystem to support the organization’s future plans for growth.  

Powering good

With earlier detection capabilities and a more agile platform, Rainforest Connection will be able to help more teams on the ground achieve their mission of preventing deforestation. “The projects with Hitachi Vantara are game-changing for Rainforest Connection,” says White. “We’ll be able to scale up our operations and provide rangers with greater certainty around when logging events are likely to happen.”

All services from Hitachi Vantara are being provided free of charge, to align with our focus on social innovation and powering good. “The partnership with Rainforest Connection has seen numerous teams from across Hitachi Vantara coming together,” comments Sinclair. “It’s great that we’re able to contribute in some way to saving the rainforests, as it’s a cause that we’re all passionate about. By minimizing deforestation, we can not only reduce carbon emissions, but also preserve species that are in danger of extinction.”

To find out more about Rainforest Connection and hear the sounds of the rainforests for yourself, go to

To discover more about how Hitachi Vantara is powering good, go to

To learn more about Hitachi Vantara services, go to
1 comment



05-02-2022 02:07

Nice Info