Smart rainforests plant the seeds for a more sustainable future

  • January 29, 2024

Corporate commitments to improving society are sometimes perceived as an organization “checking the sustainability box” in their corporate social responsibility plan. But for those of us with a sincere culture of ‘technology for good,’ it goes far deeper. At NTT DATA, we strive for genuine engagement and creative effort and apply our skills and solutions toward actual measurable results.

NTT DATA’s sustainability initiatives take an approach that focuses on “Planet, Prosperity, and People.” In other words, we pursue technological innovations that foster an inclusive, prosperous and sustainable future. An excellent example of this commitment is our recently announced partnership with ClimateForce, a non-profit test bed for sustainable technologies with a particular focus on rainforest regeneration.

Now more than ever, action is essential. In 2021, 145 countries at COP26, the 2021 climate summit, pledged to achieve zero deforestation by 2030. Success requires an annual 10 percent reduction in deforestation. But the World Resources Institute (WRI) determined that global deforestation in 2022 was 2.5 million acres above the level required to meet the zero-deforestation objective. The global tropics, which make up 96 percent of global rainforests, experienced a 10 percent loss in 2022. At the current pace of destruction, the world’s rainforests will cease to exist sooner than we think, worsening the already severe impact of climate change on the global ecosystem and economy. Many animals, plants and other organisms will tragically disappear in the resulting climate chaos.

What if we could add rainforest regeneration to help support the goals of zero deforestation? That’s exactly what ClimateForce is attempting, and NTT DATA is fully onboard.

Smart rainforests

Like rainforests worldwide, Australia’s Daintree Rainforest — a World Heritage Site — has been damaged over decades as land has been razed for agriculture and livestock. ClimateForce is regenerating a section bulldozed 40 years ago and then infested by invasive plant species. This section of land is adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef, another World Heritage Site. To help protect the reef and bring back original biodiversity, ClimateForce is regenerating this primordial rainforest using modern digital technologies. NTT DATA will support this effort by contributing and operating our smart technology that already has been proven in urban and industrial settings.

The result will be the world’s first Smart Rainforest, supported by NTT’s Smart Management Platform. In addition to restoring a damaged section of the Daintree, we’re helping ClimateForce develop exportable models for regenerating ecosystems and protecting biodiversity while building resilient local economies.

Using technology for good

Bringing together innovation and sustainability can have many benefits. Our Smart Management Platform (SMP) uses AI, sensors and edge computing to transform data into actionable intelligence. Diagnostic and predictive analytics yield contextual and situational insights and solutions. Specifically, we’ll leverage the following advanced technologies and capabilities to quickly learn the best techniques for organic tropical regeneration.

Data gathering and analysis

SMP technology offers a centralized data management and analytics engine that can ingest massive data from IoT and non-IoT sources. For Smart Rainforest, SMP will collect and analyze data from sensors embedded in the complex rainforest ecosystem. We’ll track and analyze soil, water, air, weather and more using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Lidar, drones and other optical sensors. The data will be mapped to identify a common data standard and enable robust correlative analytics that are simple to view and control.

AI and machine learning techniques

We'll apply AI and machine learning techniques to multiple data sources to deliver cognitive analytics for deeper insights and solutions. In this case, the data and insights can relate to ecological conditions, climate, economy, land base and other factors in support of ClimateForce’s environmental scientists. We’re excited to help our partners discover new and innovative methods for stimulating growth and regeneration in the Daintree area. Ultimately, we want to use SMP to create a fully functional Bio-Diversity Digital Twin of the Daintree regeneration zone. This will allow ClimateForce’s research team to test emerging theories without waiting years or decades to see the results.

Predictive analytics

SMP’s predictive analytics capabilities include real-time alerting and trend analysis to predict future events. Analytics and analysis can help ClimateForce establish metrics and baselines for comparing expectations and actual results, as well as setting future objectives and identifying potential challenges along the way.

The partnership with ClimateForce is a perfect match for NTT DATA and our commitment to sustainability. Last year, we sponsored Robert Swan’s Undaunted: South Pole 2023 expedition to help build awareness and spark conversations about climate change, renewable energy and preserving Antarctica. The co-founder and CEO of ClimateForce, Barney Swan, is Robert’s son and pulled the NTT DATA sled to the geographic South Pole. Now, we’re proudly supporting the next generation as Barney and his team restore the Daintree and build sustainable global models for land regeneration. In a related initiative, NTT DATA is leveraging SMP in a collaboration with Mark Development to promote smart, sustainable living by creating connected experiences and engagement through conscious, purpose-driven practices.

The world has a long way to go in a short time to achieve the zero-deforestation objective. Corporate commitments to sustainability look nice in a banner on a website, but true change requires action and innovation. We are putting our words into action. In 2024 and beyond, we're excited to play an effective role in driving sustainability and connecting others on the path to meaningful change.

Learn more about NTT DATA’s sustainability efforts.

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Corie Pierce

Corie Pierce is the vice president of external communications and sustainability for NTT DATA Services, where she leads global analyst relations, media relations, social media and sustainability efforts.


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