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SSAI on the Cover of Nature
Ten current and former SSAI employees contributed to the cover article for this month’s issue of Nature, which has been several years in the making. Tree distribution and density of tree cover has not been well quantified. By ingesting large amounts of satellite data and using machine learning and high-performance computing to process it into mosaics that were then fed through neural network models to identify individual trees, the team was able to use 300,000 images to identify 9.9 billion individual trees. With this information, they were able to estimate the amount of carbon being sequestered by the trees and, as a result, the climate impacts if the tree cover were to decrease with increasingly frequent drought events. With climate change, it is predicted that the study areas will continue to become more arid, and this work provides the necessary data to local scientists, policymakers, restoration practitioners, and farmers who are able to potentially mitigate these effects with protection and restoration programs. The team’s work is available via an easy-to-use data visualization tool that can be accessed locally by these on-the-ground change makers.
Congratulations Jen Small, Katie Melocik, Jesse Meyer, Scott Sinno, Yasmin Fitts, Jorge Pinzon, Devin Fox, Eric Romero, Erin Glennie, and August Morin and the rest of the team for this achievement!
Read the full article in Nature here.