Artificial intelligence fights illegal deforestation in Mato Grosso

Artificial intelligence fights illegal deforestation in Mato Grosso
Artificial intelligence fights illegal deforestation in Mato Grosso

Ribeirão Cascalheira (900 km from Cuiabá) is currently one of the municipalities that most deforest in Mato Grosso. There were 11,905.4687 hectares (ha) of native vegetation suppressed in the last 14 years.

The survey is from the strategic project Satélites Alertas, developed by the Attorney General’s Office Specialized in Environmental Defense and Urban Order of the Public Ministry of Mato Grosso. And the first Conduct Adjustment Term (TAC) signed as a result of the project implemented about two years ago comes from this region.

Based on a notice of infraction drawn up by the Secretary of State for the Environment (Sema-MT), which indicated illegal deforestation in the clearing of native forest, as well as the embargo of the area, the Satélites Alertas team analyzed the case, raised the details and images that proved the environmental crime and sent the material to the 1st Public Prosecutor’s Office of Ribeirão Cascalheira. In the district, a Notícia de Fato was opened, which evolved into a Public Civil Action (ACP) with a partially granted injunction and culminated in the signing of a TAC during a conciliation hearing.

In the agreement, the owner of the area undertook to pay civil damages, through a judicial deposit in favor of the Municipal Environmental Fund of Ribeirão Cascalheira, as well as to enter the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) within 60 days, abstaining from from economically exploring the degraded area until environmental regularization. In addition, it assumed the commitment to recover areas that are considered to be permanent preservation and legal reserves.

This is one of the results of Satélites Alertas, a strategic initiative by the MPMT implemented in March 2020, which consists of using artificial intelligence to cross-reference data from deforested and burned areas with areas released in the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) in Mato Grosso. The technology was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), through an agreement signed between the institutions.

According to the holder of the Specialized in Environmental Defense and Urban Order, Attorney Luiz Alberto Esteves Scaloppe, the objective is to use technology to identify the practice of environmental damage at the beginning and, consequently, give greater effectiveness to the work of prosecutors in the mitigation of harmful effects on the environment. All in accordance with the Strategic Planning 2020/2023 of the MPMT, which has among its strategic objectives “to increase actions to prevent and repair damage caused to ecosystems”.

For this, a module was developed based on Inpe’s portable monitoring, analysis and alerting platform for environmental extremes TerraMA². It contains the Prodes databases (monitoring deforestation, with annual maps), Deter (real-time detection of deforestation, with daily alerts) and Queimadas (operational monitoring of fires and forest fires detected by satellites). These data are brought to the Public Ministry’s network and cross-referenced with other surveys to assist in decision-making.

From this intersection and the superposition of satellite images, which compare the vegetation cover of the area year by year, Technical Support Requests (SATs) are produced and forwarded to the Military Police Battalion for Environmental Protection for the drawing up of infraction notices and embargo. .

The next step is to send the material and a technical report to the project’s legal team, for the preparation of the notification minutes, ordinance, Public Civil Action (ACP) and Conduct Adjustment Term (TAC). This kit is registered in the Integrated System of the Public Ministry (Simp) and forwarded to the district attorney for analysis and referral.

Satélites Alertas monitors deforestation that took place as of July 22, 2008. The coordinator of the MPMT’s Environmental Technical Support Center (Caex), prosecutor Marcelo Caetano Vacchiano, explains that, although crimes prescribe in the criminal and administrative penalty in five years, are still liable to punishment in the civil sphere. He clarifies that Satélites Alertas operates on two fronts, starting from the alerts generated by Inpe or the infraction notices drawn up and forwarded by Sema-MT. “The team also analyzes these notices of infraction and prepares the minutes for the action of the prosecutors at the end”, he adds.

RESULTS – In just over two years of the project, Satélites Alertas identified 598,004.1356 hectares (ha) of illegal deforestation, either through Inpe data or Sema-MT infraction notices. This area corresponds to almost four times the size of the city of São Paulo. 766 technical reports were issued and 14,004 legal drafts were prepared, resulting in 315 public civil actions, five criminal actions, 936 civil inquiries, 321 factual reports and 39 preparatory proceedings.

GOAL – According to the PEI 2020-2023, the goal related to the macro-action “Strengthening action in the fight against illegal deforestation and fires in the counties” for this year is for 40 counties to join the Satellites Alerts project.

Although the initiative already serves the 141 municipalities in Mato Grosso organized in 79 counties, each ministerial unit must install a Structural Administrative Procedure (PA) on the project in order to achieve the goal.

Taking this need as a parameter, the MPMT Planning and Management Department considers the project to be in operation in 34 districts.

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