Philippine Innovation & Environment
The Rainforest Connection and Connected Mangroves
Drones, Cell Phones, the Cloud Fighting Climate Change
In the Philippines, telecom company PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications are deploying drones, cell phones, digital technology and the Cloud to preserve and protect critical areas of global environmental biodiversity. Specifically, they're using technology to protect the Caimpuga Peatlands and the Aguran Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary. They contain the only remaining peat swamp forest in the Philippines. The project is called The Rainforest Connection. Another PLDT program Connected Mangroves is using technology to protect mangrove forests. These are unique ecosystems critical in the fight against Climate Change.
Climate Change's Impact
Peatlands can store twice as much carbon as all of the world's forests combined, according to PLDT CEO Manuel Pangilinan, These so-called "carbon sinks" are crucial in mitigating the effects of climate change. PLDT is helping to support peatlands management strategies by equipping environmental volunteers with drones, digital and communications technology including mobile phones and radio devices to monitor, protect and preserve the peatlands.
Bio-Acoustic Tech at Work in the Wilds
The program uses old cell phones powered by solar panels and wireless technology to monitor and record ambient sounds in priority forest areas. The bio-acoustics are uploaded to a cloud server and the data is accessible to forest rangers who also get real time alerts on trucks, chain saws and other sounds from forest destroyers. As a result, forest rangers have already foiled several attempts at illegal logging. Rainforest Connection began in Q1 2020. It is a collaboration among PLDT, Huawei Technologies Philippines and the Philippine's Department of Environment & Natural Resources, DENR.
PLDT has a similar venture in place to save and protect mangrove forests called Connected Mangroves. It uses wireless connectivity devices to collect data like water levels, temperature and soil moisture that are critical to the survival of mangrove areas. Mangroves are very important in the protection of Asian seaside communities from typhoons and flooding, which have been intensifying from climate change. They are also a vital habitat for aquatic life.
Innovative Solutions for the Environment
Both of these programs in the Philippines - The Rainforest Connection and Connected Mangroves - are top global examples of innovative solutions to better the environment and fight climate change through technology.