LJMU scientists part of semi-finalist team in $10 million global rainforest competition

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LJMU scientists from the School of Biological and Environmental Sciences have been announced as semi-finalists in the XPRIZE Rainforest competition which aims to improve our understanding of the rainforest ecosystem.

Announced at the World Biodiversity Forum in Davos, the Re-Forest-ER team was named on the competition shortlist in recognition of their ambitious state-of-the-art, integrated data-driven monitoring and management platform for tropical, mixed agroforestry environments.

The Re-Forest-ER team is a consortium of leading technology and knowledge providers focusing on nature conservation, forest restoration, and sustainable agroforestry innovation.

A team of experts from LJMU’s School of Biological and Environmental Sciences led by Prof Serge Wich make up part of the team alongside the Masarang Foundation, Arsari Enviro Industri and Space4Good.

The consortium’s joint mission is to create a comprehensive and objective, data-driven understanding of the complex ecosystem of rainforests. In doing so, they aim to better protect and restore these essential systems, supporting decision-makers, field workers, and local communities to ensure and improve efficient, resilient and sustainable agroforestry design and operation.

The expertise at LJMU on tropical rainforest ecology and conservation of primates and their habitats provides a vital contribution to this timely research. 

“The XPRIZE Rainforest competition is instrumental to reshaping the narrative around environmental justice and conservation between key stakeholders in the environmental industry,” said Peter Houlihan, Executive Vice President of Biodiversity & Conservation at XPRIZE.

“Partnering and collaborating alongside Indigenous Peoples and local communities work toward shared goals of solving challenges associated with rainforest biodiversity to help ensure future equitable access to technology and innovative solutions.”

XPRIZE Rainforest’s independent judging panel selected 15 teams from 10 countries to advance to the semi-final round of the competition.

The teams will now spend the next year developing and refining their innovative approaches ahead of testing in Singapore in 2023.

As part of the testing, teams will be required to demonstrate the capability and readiness of their technology in a rainforest setting. Ultimately, teams will need to survey the most biodiversity in 100 hectares of tropical rainforest in 24 hours and produce the most impactful real-time insights within 48 hours to win the competition.

The XPRIZE Rainforest competition.


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