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Improved predictions of deforestation in Borneo

Date: October 12, 2017

Improved predictions of deforestation by using multi-scale machine learning algorithms


Background

Deforestation is the leading driver of biodiversity loss in the world today. Improved understanding of the factors that drive the rate and pattern of forest loss are critical to guide proactive conservation of forest ecosystems and the biodiversity they support. The island of Borneo has some the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and the highest deforestation rates.

Dr. Samuel Cushman (RMRS) developed a novel application of multi-scale machine-learning predictive modeling to identify the drivers and predict the rates and patterns of forest loss across the island of Borneo. The model produced much stronger and more accurate predictions than traditional approaches and has provided detailed and specific guidance for conservation prioritization and management efforts in Borneo.

Key Findings

  1. The project improved predictive modeling of deforestation with a novel application of multi-scale machine learning predictive modeling.

  2. The project provided highly accurate predictions of future deforestation risk across the full extent of Borneo, which provides critical guidance for proactive conservation and management efforts.

Probability of deforestation from 2010–2020, obtained by applying calibrated random forest models developed in the 2000–2010 period to the landscape data in 2010 for the study nations -Brunei, Malaysian Borneo, and Kalimantan. Black areas were non-forest in 2010.
Probability of deforestation from 2010–2020, obtained by applying calibrated random forest models developed in the 2000–2010 period to the landscape data in 2010 for the study nations -Brunei, Malaysian Borneo, and Kalimantan. Black areas were non-forest in 2010.
Figure 1Map of Borneo showing areas of forest loss between 2000 and 2010 in yellow, areas of forest persistence from 2000 to 2010 in green, and areas that were not forest in 2000 in black.
Map of Borneo showing areas of forest loss between 2000 and 2010 in yellow, areas of forest persistence from 2000 to 2010 in green, and areas that were not forest in 2000 in black.

Featured Publications

Cushman, Samuel A. ; Macdonald, Ewan A. ; Landguth, Erin L. ; Malhi, Yadvinder ; Macdonald, David W. , 2017


Principal Investigators: 
Principal Investigators - External: 
David Macdonald - University of Oxford Wildlife Conservation Research Unit
Ewan Macdonald - University of Oxford Wildlife Conservation Research Unit
Research Location: 
Borneo, including the nations of Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia