This post comes from Trude Myhre, a forest conservation advisor for World Wildlife Fund – Norway. WWF-Norway is responsible for the implementation of a number of large and small projects, both in Norway and in our partner countries.

Part of what I love about my work is going out into the wild. I leave the city to travel for hours on backroads and dirt roads, seeking some of the most remote stretches of forest in Norway.

I’ve always wanted to do this kind of work. Growing up surrounded by forests formed my childhood and my desire to explore. While my university, training, and work required me to be near a city, I always looked forward to my next field visit.

But the reason for these trips isn’t to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. My work with World Wildlife Fund – Norway is to document the rapidly declining old-growth forests. These forests are unique, undisturbed ecosystems that are home to unique plants, animals, and microbes. These forests play an important role in cycling nutrients, absorbing carbon, and regulating our atmosphere.

When we’re able to collaborate effectively, we create something greater than the sum of its parts.

People often assume Norway is an untouched natural paradise. The reality is we have very few protected forests and we’re at risk of losing them. Once they’re gone, there’s no turning back. You can’t just replant an old growth forest: It took a millennium to form. My team must work tirelessly to document the loss and push for stronger protections.

We do our fieldwork in very remote and rural areas. Whether collecting data or documenting evidence of logging, we need to communicate to our headquarters frequently. Previously, I’d collect data in the field but be unable to share with my colleagues until I was back in Oslo. It’s not only a matter of sharing files — they need the context that I’ve gathered.

Now, I’m using Cisco Spark to share information in real time. I post all the information in the app, where I can relay it to my team. We can connect right away, whether that’s through messaging, audio, video, or a whiteboarding session.

It’s not just me going out into the field. An entire group of people works behind the scenes on this effort. We’re under constraints to gather the best data in a short window of time. At the office in Oslo, they collect the information and map everything out on a Cisco Spark Board. This helps determine what actions are necessary to protect this area.

The timeline for protecting these forests is tight. We need to get data from the field to the policy team to affect the decisions that can protect this land.

When we’re able to collaborate effectively, we create something greater than the sum of its parts. The work is so much higher quality. It generates the impact that we need to help these forests survive.

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Kim Austin

No Longer with Cisco