Using audio recognition software, old solar-powered phones can pick up sounds from chainsaws.

While rainforests cover less than 2% of the Earth’s surface, it is estimated that they are home to half of the world’s animal and plant species. Unfortunately, in places like Indonesia which has the world’s third largest rainforest, illegal logging and deforestation causes the loss of millions of hectares.

Part of the problem is that adequately monitoring millions of acres of forest is nearly impossible for the handful of rangers assigned to the area – until now.

Topher White, the founder of the conservation non-profit Rainforest Connection, has a plan that would alert forest rangers of illegal logging through old Android smartphones. The pilot project, which is set to be tested in the Air Tarusan reserve in Sumatra, uses modified smartphones to identify and record the sound-signatures of chainsaws.

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