WWF-Canada awards $300,000 in contracts for new technologies that help measure carbon that’s stored in nature

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The Nature x Carbon Tech Challenge award recipients are using innovation to help communities overcome barriers to measuring the outcomes of nature-based climate solutions

Final award recipients at WWF-Canada’s Nature x Carbon Tech event

Group photo of the Nature x Carbon Tech Challenge award recipients, Omid Reisi Gahrouei and Ny Tolotr Razafimbelo from Laval University, Agata Rudd and Sean Rudd from Korotu Technology and Garrett Whitworth and Darcy LeBourdais from Innovatree Carbon Group, with Megan Leslie WWF-Canada’s President & CEO and James Snider, WWF-Canada’s Vice President of Science, Knowledge and Innovation. (c) Matt Stewart / WWF-Canada.
Group photo of the Nature x Carbon Tech Challenge award recipients, Omid Reisi Gahrouei and Ny Tolotr Razafimbelo from Laval University, Agata Rudd and Sean Rudd from Korotu Technology and Garrett Whitworth and Darcy LeBourdais from Innovatree Carbon Group, with Megan Leslie WWF-Canada’s President & CEO and James Snider, WWF-Canada’s Vice President of Science, Knowledge and Innovation. (c) Matt Stewart / WWF-Canada.

Ottawa, May 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — WWF-Canada is excited to announce three award recipients of the Nature x Carbon Tech Challenge, which is catalyzing the development of cost-effective, innovative and user-friendly technologies and approaches to facilitate the community-led measurement of carbon in nature. 

The following organizations will be awarded $100,000 in contracts: 

  • Innovatree Carbon Group Ltd., Kamloops, B.C., for its forest carbon monitoring software.  
  • Korotu Technology, Toronto, for its LandSteward platform that enables community forest monitoring and carbon reporting through CarbonWatch. 
  • Digital Forest Lab at Laval University, Quebec City, for its Forest BIOmass measurement system, which uses 3D terrestrial LiDAR SCANning (BioScan3D)

To reach the global climate targets and keep warming below 1.5 degrees, greenhouse gas emissions must be cut drastically. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recognized the significant role that nature can play in fighting climate change, but there are historical challenges like cost and timeliness of measuring and monitoring conservation actions to ensure that the expected carbon benefit is realized.  

How does one measure the carbon benefit of approaches such as restoration and protection? How can it be assessed if these efforts are making any difference for climate? These were the questions that the Nature x Carbon Tech Challenge set out to answer. After piloting five technologies, WWF-Canada is pleased to announce the final award recipients who will continue to work with communities to better track the impact of conservation actions.   

Megan Leslie, President and CEO at WWF-Canada says, “The implementation of user-friendly technologies will support the tremendous amount of conservation work, including efforts  led by Indigenous Peoples and local communities across Canada. Using these technologies to measure the carbon benefits of restoring and protecting nature in Canada will support the implementation of nature-based climate solutions.It has been proven that nature is carbon, nature is habitat, and nature is a key solution.”  

Garrett Whitworth, Director at Innovatree Carbon Group Ltd. says, “This award will allow our team to provide valuable ecosystem and carbon sequestration information to First Nation communities and give us the flexibility to continue software development in a challenging and extraordinarily biodiverse coastal forest ecosystem.” 

Agata Rudd, co-founder at Korotu Technology says, “Working with WWF-Canada will help Korotu Technology accelerate the development of the technology and get it into the hands of users to help protect the climate and biodiversity.” 

Martin Béland, Associate Professor of Environmental Remote Sensing at Laval University says, “Through this award our aim is to make the technology more accessible to community users by providing low-cost access to lidar instruments, creating a software pipeline that will simplify the data processing chain, and produce reliable reports on above ground carbon….”   
The impact of the technologies extends far beyond this challenge by supporting community conservation efforts. 

“Understanding the impact that the recent wildfires have had on the forest ecosystem in the interior of B.C. is critically important to successful restoration and future ecological adaptation to climate change,” says Angela Kane, CEO at Secwepemcul’ecw Restoration and Stewardship Society. “Our forest carbon monitoring is building a justification for increased biodiversity across the landscape, particularly as it applies to culturally important trees and plants.” 

WWF-Canada created the Nature x Carbon Tech Challenge as part of its 10-year strategic plan to Regenerate Canada. The plan outlines the organization’s commitment to restore 1 million hectares of land, steward 100 million hectares and reduce carbon emissions by 30 million tonnes. 

WWF-Canada’s Nature x Carbon Tech Challenge, supported by founding partner RBC Tech for Nature and national technology sponsor Microsoft, catalyzes the development of user-friendly and innovative technologies to support community-led measurement of carbon in nature. Techhub.wwf.ca 

Video available about project here: https://youtu.be/7zNEvVnsHqA

About WWF-Canada 
WWF-Canada is committed to equitable and effective conservation actions that restore nature, reverse wildlife loss and fight climate change. We draw on scientific analysis and Indigenous guidance to ensure all our efforts connect to a single goal: a future where wildlife, nature and people thrive. For more information visit wwf.ca. 

About Innovatree Carbon Group Ltd.    
Innovatree has been collaboratively developed between AIB Innovation Ltd., an R&D company specializing in sustainable innovation, and Second Pass Forestry Ltd., a First Nation-owned forestry consulting company. The Innovatree software relies on LiDAR data and machine learning to calculate the carbon found in forest biomass. This technology is combined with a minimal number of field-plot inventories and produces georeferenced maps and datasets with information scaled down to the individual tree level. 

About Korotu Technology   
Korotu Technology helps communities protect natural areas to support climate and biodiversity stewardship. Korotu’s LandSteward platform continuously monitors and measures the forests, wetlands and grasslands communities depend on. Satellite based LiDAR and Optical Sensors allow the platform’s web users to rapidly estimate and visualize heat maps of the carbon contained in nature. 

About the Digital Forest Lab at Laval University   
The team from Laval University is developing a data processing chain that utilizes data captured from terrestrial LiDAR scanners which are then used to generate 3D point clouds and estimate above-ground biomass in forests. In addition, estimations of the uncertainty are provided and allow for detailed estimates of carbon found in the above-ground biomass in any given forest. This will allow those with minimal training to measure the carbon found in forests.   

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