The Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) region has been declared as a climate change hot-spot in numerous researches conducted in the last decade. Cyprus is expected to experience large-scale environmental hazards and natural disasters in coming years, (mainly) due to global warming. We strongly believe that both Cypriot communities (G/C and T/C) can act upon these hazards together, collaborating to mitigate the consequences of climate change on the island.
In this direction, we propose the use of emerging technologies to support significant climate actions, in particular forestation. Via CO-FOR-IT, we will develop an online platform, empowered by artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision (CV), deep learning (DL) and geospatial analysis, allowing G/C and T/C stakeholders (i.e. NGOs, citizens, citizen initiatives) to optimize their decision-making in forestation efforts. Collaboration between the two communities is encouraged, which is vital for exchanging best practices, supporting afforestation events through volunteers from both sides and raising environmental awareness, stressing the urgency of collaboration on this global matter that affects everyone on the island.
The CV/AI methods and the results of this processing will enable the calculation of statistics relevant to tree planting like tree density, tree species’ compatibility, plant health and suitability and unplanted systemic areas identification (e.g. areas eligible to anti-corrosion measures). These results will be presented to specialists who will advice on how to perform planting (recommending species that are appropriate for a specific area e.g. are especially good at stopping corrosion or slowing down fire spread for high-risk areas near fuel tanks, military areas, densely populated areas, etc.). This will be extremely useful for future relevant follow-up projects.
Bringing Turkish and Greek Cypriots together to solve a bi-community problem builds a meaningful and effective partnership, establishing the foundations for future long-term collaboration and trust. Both communities share a mutual interest in facing the consequences of climate change. While climate change is a global problem, there is a big reluctance and a feeling of mistrust among nations in cooperating and in taking drastic measures against it. Enabling two communities with a hostile past to cooperate and become pioneers in taking actions against climate change is a huge step forward.
Techniques used: Satellite imagery, Deep learning, GIS and geospatial analysis, Modelling.
Collaboration with: Reforest Nicosia (former “300K Trees in Nicosia”) NGO, Yesil Baris (Cyprus Green Action Group) NGO.
Started: February 2021
Funding: CYENS Island-Wide Perspective and Reach Research and Innovation Grants.