Malaysia plans to implement a nationwide system to track illegal logging using a remote sensing technology.

“The system has an operational range of 10 times what we have now, with a 2,000km distance sensing capability of any change to a forest landscape,” said Natural Resources and Environment Deputy Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri.

The tool has been built by the Sarawak Forestry Department, and will be expanded across the country once the pilot proves successful.

The tool uses “hyperspectral” technology which can identify changes to even a single pixel of an image. It uses differences in the wavelength of light to detect changes that are not visible to humans, and can identify materials.

“This can give the enforcement team advantages to monitor without being detected by illegal loggers,” the minister added.

The Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia has been given RM140,000 (US$36,046) to get drones, and improve its mapping and remote sensing systems to monitor illegal logging.