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Winrock International

The Future of Forests: An Optimist’s View

Winrock International CEO Rodney Ferguson on the global impact of harnessing technology, science and policy for a more sustainable future.

“I believe that there’s hope, there’s great hope for us to change the course of the future of the planet,” said Winrock President and CEO Rodney Ferguson at the Redlands Forum in Redlands, California. “And the way we can do that is through the application of technology.”

The Redlands Forum, sponsored by the mapping technology company Esri and the University of Redlands Town and Gown, features government and business leaders, environmentalists, filmmakers and performers on a variety of topics.

Ferguson’s talk, “The Future of Forests: An Optimist’s View,” introduced the audience to Winrock’s work around the globe, from Vietnam and Guyana to the U.S. and Cambodia.

For example, Ferguson explained how the Watershed Ecosystem Service Tool (WESTool), developed with and for Cambodians using ESRI software, allows users to look at multiple variables that are affected by forest loss, such as water availability, sediment and nutrient loss.

“We can develop the science and technology, we can build the tools, we can merge development activities with technology,” Ferguson said. “We can take this from the field and the forest to the cloud and back. And in the course of doing that we can harness and revolutionize it in a way that honors the planet.”

To read a transcription of the Redlands Forum presentation, click here.

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