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DigitalGlobe Launches Crowdsourcing Campaign to Help Save Hawaii’s Native Forests

In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, DigitalGlobe activated its Tomnod crowdsourcing platform to help preserve Hawaii’s remaining native forests, the areas that remain mostly untouched by civilization. Invasive weeds, such as the Australian Tree Fern and African Tulip Tree, are aggressively spreading throughout Hawaii’s high-elevation rainforests.

In fact, invasive species have contributed to the destruction of more than 50 percent of Hawaii’s native forests, according to The Nature Conservancy. DigitalGlobe has a unique ability to monitor change around the world, and this campaign will allow us to do just that.

Starting with the island of Kauai, we want to pinpoint the location of some of the worst invasive weeds, but we need your help! If you would like to volunteer your time to support this mission, please visit DigitalGlobe’s Tomnod platform to join other eco-volunteers in combing through aerial images of Kauai to tag two different species of invasive weeds, specifically: Australian Tree Fern, Partial Australian Tree Fern and African Tulip Tree.

This project uses Conservancy-provided high resolution aerial photography of Kauai’s remote rainforests. By pinpointing the location of each weed, the Conservancy will be able to focus its efforts on each one, and identify the leading edge of the weeds’ spread. Targeting weeds in the regions of the forest where they are most prevalent will slow further spread and push back that leading edge, protecting the 27 percent of native forest that remains on Kauai. Hawaii as a state stretches over more than 16,000 square kilometers, and the island of Kauai is more than 1,400 square kilometers, so the crowd can play a significant role in targeting these weeds before they spread any further. Although this project focuses on just 3,000 acres, if it is successful, the Conservancy has thousands more acres — and images — to analyze.