Artificial Intelligence Will Become an Ally to Combat Illegal Logging in Costa Rica

    Pilot project is supported by Estonia

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    Carrying out measurements using artificial intelligence, instead of traditional methods, would allow Costa Rica to better combat illegal logging and more closely monitor the forestry sector in the country.

    This is vital since during 2021 the country registered almost 7,000 environmental complaints (an increase of 22% compared to 2020), of which 46% are related to forestry issues and illegal logging infractions were the most mentioned ( 31%).

    Given this, a pilot project, which began in 2020 between Costa Rica and Estonia, aims to facilitate the digital management of wood in the country and increase competitiveness at the forestry level.

    With funding from the Estonian Environmental Investment Center (KIK in Estonia), the technology company Timbeter trains national authorities and the private sector in the use of digital data to control wood volumes in the production chain and reports and inventories.

    Supporting to promote the economic development of the forestry sector

    Franklin Paniagua, Vice Minister of the Environment, highlighted the importance of Timberter’s support to promote the economic development of the forestry sector.

    “Our objective is to obtain clear benefits from the use of technology for efficient and sustainable management of the sector. It is important to guarantee the transparency and traceability of the management, in order to increase the competitiveness of the companies that market and export wood in the country”, said Paniagua.

    Anna-Greta Tsahkna, CEO of Timbeter, and Martin Kambla, the company’s chief technology officer, visited Costa Rica during February and participated in a series of meetings and field visits to strengthen the project’s roadmap.

    “The digital transformation of the sector can only occur within the framework of an alliance between the public and private sectors, so it is important to include private actors from the early stages of the process and help them digitize their operations so that they can reap the benefits of digitization and taking measurements using artificial intelligence,” said Tsahkna.

    As part of the activities, the Estonian authorities toured the North Zone and held virtual meetings with representatives of the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer), in charge of the Single Investment Window project.

    Governments agree that there are opportunities for the use of this technology in forestry operations, as is the case of the National Forestry Office’s national timber legality certification scheme, which seeks to generate differentiation for legal timber that is traded complying with the regulations in the country.

    With the integration of Timbeter’s technology to the digital solutions currently used by the country, the measurement of logs in the field, trucks, sawmills, and containers would be facilitated, as well as the documentation with images of the custody of the wood.

    Main results during 2021

    Report of the integrated system for the processing and attention of environmental complaints of the environmental comptroller office of the ministry of environment and energy:

    • A total of 6,977 complaints were filed
    • Complaints related to forest issues covered 46.2%
    • Violations for logging accounted for 31%
    • Puntarenas and Alajuela were the provinces with the most complaints.
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