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Contention-based geographic forwarding (CGF) is a state-free communication paradigm for data delivery in multihop wireless sensor networks. CGF is robust to frequent topology changes, scalable to large-scale node deployment and applicable to data-centric applications and resource constrained networks. However, CGF may experience significant performance degradation under unreliable links. In this work, we present the intelligent CGF (ICGF) to combat the channel variation. IGCF combines the advantages of both cooperative and contention-based forwarding, involving multiple neighbours of the sender into the local forwarding to improve the transmission reliability. ICGF differs from existing work in that it extends the cooperation scope intelligently, by sending one additional control message on demand. For this reason, the probability of cooperation void in ICGF is decreased and the single-hop packet progress is increased. The authors conduct extensive simulations to study the performance of the proposed ICGF compared with existing protocols. Simulation results demonstrate that ICGF improves the end-to-end data delivery delay, energy efficiency and data delivery ratio.