How you can protect forests by hacking

by Joanna Nowakowska and Loa Dalgaard Worm

Forest Stewardship Council

Do you code? Do you want to help combat climate change and protect forests throughout the globe? And most importantly, do you want to win prizes?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, join us for DocuSign’s annual Hack for Forests hackathon February 29–March 1 in San Francisco, CA.

Compete for a $2,500 grand prize and over $10,000 in total prizes. Register today!

Each year, we bring together hundreds of developers to build solutions for nonprofit organizations working on real environmental challenges. This year you’ll be hacking on behalf of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Help save the world’s forests for future generations

FSC is on a mission to ensure that all our forests are safeguarded through sustainable forest management – forests that thrive environmentally, socially, and economically – Forests for all Forever. When forest owners or timber companies become FSC-certified, it means they are managing forests in responsible ways that protect biodiversity, workers, and indigenous people’s rights, and the livelihoods of thousands of community forest managers all around the world.

This mission is critical, because we all depend on forests in our everyday lives – for everyday paper products, for helping combat climate change and for ensuring the livelihoods of billions of people around the globe. FSC needs your help in achieving its mission, and some of the biggest challenges our forests face can be solved with technology.

And that is where you and your brilliant mind comes in!

We need to make it easy – but strong!

At the hack, you will get to give your best technology solutions to bring FSC certification to community forest managers around the world. Many of these communities may find it challenging to meet the standards of FSC certification, because they have to create inventory maps of their land and identify gaps between their current ways of working and more sustainable methods. This is often done through heaps of paper and cumbersome administrative processes, which can be difficult to figure out and keep up with if you aren’t used to certification processes.

FSC wants to unleash the power of technology, where paper documentation is replaced with digital tools that can guide and support forest owners on the journey to sustainable forest management. In this setup, as much data as possible should be automatically generated through earth observation, image recognition and other technologies, and shared with FSC-accredited auditors to reduce administrative burdens.

In short, we need to Hack for Forests! How can technology support forest managers in obtaining and maintaining FSC certification, simplifying and lowering the administrative burdens while preserving the strong, high standards of FSC? How can technology help extend the reach of sustainable forest management to those small-scale forest managers and communities who struggle the most, so that they can focus on what’s most important for them and for us: caring for the forest, rather than being behind the desk?

Earth observation and money – how do they come together?

The hack is also challenging coders interested in coupling earth observation with impact investor funds. As the dire consequences of climate change become clearer, investors around the world are looking for ways to do good with their money, and they are turning to forests as a natural climate solution. But how do they find the best forests to invest in, and how can they keep track of the status of the forests they choose to give money to?

We think technology can come up with an answer to that, and we’re challenging you to help us bring it to life. This will also support FSC-certified companies, who can benefit from innovative solutions that show investors what it takes to manage an FSC certified forest, which will also ensure that small-scale forest managers get the most value out of certification.

You can help FSC find solutions to the challenges above, and we are so excited about all the great minds taking a look at FSC from a fresh and modern perspective!

Last year, hackers used the DocuSign eSignature and other APIs to build mobile apps to raise awareness for The Wilderness Society. Check out last year’s awesome projects to get inspired!

Where and how to get in?

As in years past, the hackathon will be hosted at dedicated hacking space Galvanize SF, and you can expect two days of unlimited food, technical mentorship, workshops, and even a late night video game tournament for prizes.

The hackathon is part of our annual Momentum Conference, and as a developer, you get in for free with the code DSMO20D.

Come build with us!

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