Social good

The forests are talking, and SilviaTerra is helping us listen

In every forest, there’s a carefully balanced ecosystem of life, and trees are critical to sustaining it. But fires, pests, drought, and deforestation threaten this delicate equilibrium.

Max Nova and Zack Parisa co-founded the company, SilviaTerra, to help us understand these complex ecosystems and build a more sustainable future for our forests. With the use of cutting-edge technology, SilviaTerra is helping foresters and landowners across the US pinpoint urgent environmental problems and tap into what nature is telling us about how we can solve them.

Counting on trees

SilviaTerra recognized that one key to that task is being able to gather information from forests across huge land areas, something that used to be impossible when foresters had to investigate on foot.

By leveraging satellite imagery and Microsoft AI, SilviaTerra has changed that.

A tall pine with a graphic overlay measuring its height at 72 feet.

We have the forests that we have today. We can’t change that. What we can change is the future.

Max Nova, co-founder of SilviaTerra

Better data, better decisions

In 2010, Zack Parisa was a Yale School of Forestry graduate student with two great loves—statistics and the great outdoors. Faced with limited resources for a community forest management project, Zack realized that forest inventory was an area where he could make real change. Together with Max Nova, then an undergraduate at Yale, they came up with an innovative tree-counting approach that uses satellite imagery to determine the size and species of trees in forests. The resulting technology became the foundation of the SilviaTerra business. Since then, the company has been driven by its motto: “Better Data. Better Decisions.”

Now Max, Zack, and their team are helping develop sustainable management plans for forests across the US.

By combining satellite imagery with machine learning, they’re improving data precision and quality. Running on Microsoft Azure, SilviaTerra collects high-resolution satellite images and combines it with pre-existing field data to create detailed forest maps at a 15-meter resolution—enabling them to estimate details such as tree species, height, and density.

Armed with this detailed information, conservationists, foresters, governments, and landowners can use these maps to assess forest health and identify risks faster and more accurately than ever before.

Learn more about how SilviaTerra is using satellite imagery and Microsoft AI to revolutionize how we preserve and restore US forests and their precious, life-giving, air-cleaning, wildlife-protecting trees.