What is an open movement?
Open movements incorporate models of providing goods and services which includes the possibility of the end-user’s participation in the production of these goods and services. For example, the open software movement shared source code widely to develop arguably the best pieces of software on the planet, such as the operating system for Android phones and Linux, which runs 99% of all the supercomputers in the world. Open movements are being used in healthcare, scientific publications, robotics, governments, and even the system powering this website (Apache).

What is Open Forestry?
It is a global open movement in forestry. There are three main objectives of Open Forestry: 1) Connect people by making communications simple and powerful 2) Enable better decisions that benefit people and the environment through predictive analytics 3) Improve the lives of everyone in the forest sector through open information and innovation.

How can it help me?
It can help you make better decisions by: 1) connecting you to resources that you would otherwise not have access 2) help to organize disparate information and distill out what is important to you 3) amplifying your questions, answers, or messages through its global network.

What is machine learning?
Machine Learning (Ml) is giving machines access to data and training them to identify similar information for themselves. Machine learning uses more conventional algorithms that try to emulate how the brain works, with layers of nodes (like neurons) that work on small pieces of a problem. Together these layers can produce amazing results, but they are working on a specific, well defined problem set. Machine learning will help Open Forestry organize information for users, create rich datasets, and pull out useful information from BIG DATA.

What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence (Ai) is the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider “smart” by taking neural networks to a new level by adding more layers that aggregate a wider set of information. This allows Ai to work on much ‘fuzzier’ problem sets and return results that are even closer to how a human would work through a problem or question. Ai has the benefit of adding nuance and creative elements. Ai will help Open Forestry work on more complex problems, and enable real-time insight for solving on the ground problems.

What is a data lake?
It is a virtually unlimited repository in the cloud, accessible everywhere. The idea of data lake is to have a single store of all data in forestry. The data lake includes structured data from relational databases (rows and columns), semi-structured data (CSV, logs, XML, JSON), unstructured data (emails, documents, PDFs) and even binary data (images, audio, video) thus creating a centralized data store accommodating all forms of data.

What is structured vs unstructured data?
Structured data has a logical form that can be more or less replicated, read by a machine using metadata, and is often human readable. An example is a database, a word document, or a weather forecast. Unstructured data is produced by machines and IOT devices, or by humans without metadata. This is what most people consider BIG DATA because it is more difficult to know what the data is telling you when it is looked at without information about its origin.

How will OF handle data validity and quality?
Information resources in Open Forestry contain a minimum of standardized international metadata. OF is incorporating ways to filter, categorize, and rank information using metadata criteria, expert input and registered user feedback. Learn more here.

How will it help smallholders?
Open Forestry will increase information sharing across socioeconomic groups. It will encourage open exchange by simplifying communications and allowing people to focus on what matters, which is typically answering questions and using best practices. For example, smart systems are being built that automatically translate messages in any language. Various communication tools, like Twitter, email, FaceBook, and so on, are being connected so that people can use the tool they want and it will be seamlessly connected to others. A ‘data lake‘ has been created that will organize information so that machine learning and Ai can one day provide answers automatically. Finally, these digital resources will be connected with people on the ground to ensure smallholders can benefit from Open Forestry.

How is Open Forestry supported?
This movement is managed by two non-profit organizations. Its support depends on users like you to donate information, connections, resources, and funds. Please consider donating to Open Forestry to ensure its ongoing success.