While setting up our own food forest / permaculture project, and during the construction of the Philippine Food Forest site, I discovered that it helps to have data about your surroundings. Where are certain trees located? What kinds of vegetation are growing here? As a kind of bookkeeping software for forests, ForestBrain was born.
It's still in an early stage, but it already has its practical applications. Together with a group of native tree enthousiasts here in the Philippines (SONATA) for example, we're working on a map of "Mother trees" in our region. By collectively keeping an eye on them, we can ensure their wellbeing and help them spread their seeds to the many deforested areas here as soon as they start flowering.
Another feature is to connect the outputs of a certain component inside your food forest (say, chicken poop) to another forest element as input (say, a vegetable garden). By systematically doing this with every component in your farm, you are slowly but surely creating a closed loop system that can eventually sustain itself. That's not my idea btw, that's the permaculture way!
ForestBrain is intended to be used by organizations. Organizations need to apply for a membership first. As a member, you can share or exchange existing data with ForestBrain and enter new data directly.
- Data providers have full control over what is public, and what is private.
- Location data can be obfuscated, so the exact location is never exposed.
- Private data can only be viewed by appointed ForestBrain administrators.
- New members have to be unanimously accepted by existing members.
- All members pledge that they will never use the data for monetary gain.
There are already many individuals, communities, local governments and organizations working towards these common goals. By working together through ForestBrain, I hope we can:
- Build up a comprehensive list of known species
- Build up a network of forest guardians and stewards
- Help each other with identification of species
- Help each other with propagation of seeds
- Share seeds and find seedlings
- Gain more insights into growing methods (such as tree guilds)
- Monitor the effects of climate change in various conditions
- Prevent valuable data from fading away in Facebook feeds