Options Magazine, Winter 2022: IIASA alumna Olga Danylo was part of the development team of Restor, a global hub for over 120,000 nature restoration and conservation projects all over the world, and is currently the organization’s Technical Product Manager.

She first joined IIASA in 2012 as a participant in the Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP). She stayed on at the institute as a researcher until April 2022, primarily focusing on mapping deforestation and human impacts on nature around the world while developing her interests in remote sensing, machine learning, and citizen science.

“Seeing the impact of human activities on ecosystems on satellite images made me wonder if there’s anything I can do,” says Danylo. “There are many people that asked themselves this question at some point in their life, who are today contributing to or leading restoration and conservation projects in different countries. It was something that I wanted to fully focus on.”

Joining Restor was a good way to utilize the skills she had been honing at IIASA. In her current role, she supports the development of science-based tools for projects that otherwise would have a limited capacity to do so.

“There is a big demand for better knowledge and scientific insights, but for many organizations, capacity is limited. Restor tries to bridge this gap by bringing science closer to projects, connecting them with each other, and making them visible to those who can support them,” she explains.

For Danylo, one of the highlights at Restor is the recently established partnership with the government of Costa Rica, the first tropical country to reverse their deforestation. This partnership aims to deliver a greater level of transparency to the country’s conservation and restoration efforts. This will hopefully inspire other countries to make their commitments on forest loss and recovery transparent, traceable, and accountable.

by Monika Bauer