Oil palm plantations can destroy rain forests and the communities that depend on them, but they are widespread in Colombia, the fourth-largest exporter of palm oil in the world.
Now a new project of the UK Space Agency aims to use high tech gadgetry to make palm oil cultivation in Colombia more sustainable, more scientific, and possibly less damaging.
Participating growers in the EcoProMIS program will have access to data, analysis and maps from satellites, drones, and fixed sensors.
The devices will monitor pests, greenhouse-gas emissions and environmental conditions, and will also provide important biodiversity data, such as the presence of jaguars and other at-risk fauna.
Farmers can use the data to improve their farms and their economic planning, hopefully making them more complaint with environmental regulations, and thus more insurable.
The system will not be used to monitor illegal encroachment by non-participating farms into forest habitats.