Kenya intensifies adoption of digital technology to combat illegal logging

Illegal logging
Illegal logging

Kenya has intensified adoption of a digital technology to prevent illegal logging that has worsened deforestation in the country, an official said Saturday.

Julius Kamau, chief conservator of forests, said the technology that is a software application is currently being piloted in the country in collaboration with an Estonian company.

“The technology is an artificial intelligence for accurate log detection — based timber measurement solution used to monitor and control the timber supply chain,” Kamau said at a briefing in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

The new technology that will be operational in monitoring the country’s forests by the end of this year is effective in measuring the logs within two minutes after the harvesting period. And the digital solution also supports law enforcement agencies to prevent illegal logging and better manage timber harvesting, said Kamau, adding that Kenya Forest Service will now have a planned harvesting period as illegal harvesting and over-harvesting will no longer be possible.

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Anna-Greta Tsahkna, chief executive officer of the Estonian company, said the technology is implemented in Kenya to strengthen sustainable forest management, increase transparency and accountability, improve monitoring and control of the chain of custody.

Tsahkna noted that the technology is a digital timber measurement solution that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence in determining the number of logs, volume and diameter of each log, whether in a pile, on a truck, or in a container.

The company has so far trained Kenyan officials and is due to start training stakeholders in the timber and tea industries, small-scale farmers, and sawmillers. The technology is believed to help developing countries in reducing illegal logging and become transparent on tree management. Enditem

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