Research Group launches innovative Forest Eye to track old growth logging in B.C., Canada

July 20, 2023
A first-of-its-kind, bespoke data mapping tool to disrupt, improve transparency, and support public mobilization to protect old-growth forests from logging

Today, Research Group launched Forest Eye, an innovative, bespoke, new data mapping tool.

“It is intended and designed to be disruptive, transparent, and support public mobilization and local community organizing around stopping old-growth logging, and holding the B.C. government to account,” says Angeline Robertson, Senior Researcher with SRG.

Forest Eye which uses remote sensing and satellite imagery is the first of its kind in B.C.’s forestry history – which is significant considering the environmental importance and sheer immensity of the region’s majestic old-growth forests, and how rare and at-risk they have become due to logging. It will give the public a direct line of insight into logging information so they can not only hold their elected public servants accountable, but organize around protecting what is left.

Forest Eye’s alerts are based on the detection of unseasonal vegetation drops using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in an innovative system designed by Upstream Tech called Lens. “The work being done by in leveraging remote sensing technology, is a crucial step towards preserving our planet for future generations,” said Carolyn duPont, Chief Operating Officer of Upstream Tech.

Lens allows SRG to identify possible areas of logging in old growth forests that have been mapped by B.C.’s Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel (TAP).

Alerts are screened by SRG staff to confirm if logging has occurred, and to determine the timing of road-building and logging. Researchers employ daily and monthly satellite imagery accessed via Planet Explorer to conduct the screening. Maps created by SRG in ArcGIS based on spatial data from the B.C. government are used to confirm the company operating the logging, the type of forest logged, and the geodetically calculated area of forest loss. Confirmed alerts are added via API from Lens to a database built by SRG, using bespoke coding to transform and parse data for further analysis. Stand campaign staff uses the database to post alerts to social media platforms.

The public can also track old-growth logging by the forest industry here on Stand’s website. This resource includes a map of the deforestation alerts, a searchable archive of the alerts, and satellite imagery of the forest clearances.