Safeguarding Biodiversity: Be Part of the Solution
Statistics on biodiversity and environmental damage usually make for bleak reading. And Biodiversity Day 2021 will be no exception. As you read this:
- 1 million plant and animal species remain at risk of extinction.
- Two-thirds of tropical rainforests – the lungs of the planet and havens of biological diversity – have been destroyed or irreparably degraded.
- The population sizes of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles have dropped by a staggering 68% since 1970, according to the WWF’s Living Planet Index 2020.
In an earlier post, I looked at how tackling inequality can help safeguard the environment on a macro scale. On an more individual level, there are also smaller ways we can all get involved and play a part in protecting the planet’s health.
Awareness, a commitment to act, and technology combine to form some of the most powerful tools in humanity’s armory for safeguarding biodiversity. And technology is now making it easier than ever to act for the planet – from simply spreading the word to getting involved in cutting-edge projects around the world, like the ones below.
Bioacoustics: Tech as Guardian
Rainforest Connection‘s (RFCx) Guardian platform is currently running in 22 project sites in 18 countries to:
- Detect the sounds of chainsaws that indicate illegal logging. Illegal logging accounts for up to 90% of all deforestation and decimates species’ habitats, placing huge numbers of animals on the IUCN red list.
- Detect the gunshots of poachers, hunters, or illegal loggers that are aimed at animals or forest rangers.
- Study the sounds of local fauna, including endangered species.
The Guardian Platform In Action
Below are three projects supported by Huawei under our TECH4ALL initiative:
Costa Rica: In the Osa Peninsula, illegal logging has endangered – amongst other species – the spider monkey, a keystone species that’s essential to the health of the local ecosystem. Guardian devices have been installed across the peninsula to detect illegal loggers and study the monkey’s habits and behaviours. Learn more about the Costa Rica Guardian project and listen to the sounds of the spider monkey
Philippines: The Palawan forest ecosystem, the archipelago’s “last ecological frontier”, is losing about 5,500 hectares (around 7,700 football pitches) of rainforest every year due to land rezoning, commercial and illegal logging, and forest fires. As well as decimating local species like the binturong, an estimated 18 rangers were killed by illegal loggers from 2001 to 2019. Learn more about the Palawan Guardian project.
Greece: Deployed in January 2021, the acoustic grid or Guardians is deterring chamois poachers in Aoos Gorge by detecting the gunshots of hunters who target the local chamois population – the largest in Greece. Five gunshots had been recorded by mid-April 2021. And now the word is out in local communities that a real-time response is possible. Learn more about the Greece Guardian project.
How Can You Get Involved?
- Connect to nature and spread the word. Download the RFCx app to listen to the sounds of rainforests in real time.
- Take action. Visit the Huawei TECH4ALL partner page and see how you can get involved as a partner or volunteer.
Bioacoustics: Analytics with Arbimon
By Chrissy Durkin, Director of International Expansion, Rainforest Connection
RFCx Arbimon is a web interface for biologists and ecologists to work with audio data collected from the field using an AudioMoth, Swift, SongMeter, Guardian, or any other recording device. The RFCx Arbimon web app was designed for ecologists and biologists who need to conduct sophisticated scientific analyses on large volumes of audio data collected from the field.
To answer specific research questions, scientists need a sophisticated and highly flexible analytical tool to be able to slice and dice audio data in countless variations. This data can then be exported and analyzed further using advanced statistical analyses tools like R.
Arbimon in Action
From there, biologists and ecologists can formulate conclusions that would guide publications of scientific papers and then inform conservation interventions. To accomplish this, our platform offers the following features to perform several kinds of analyses:
- Pattern matching (object recognition using a cross correlation analysis to identify presence of similar patterns in other audio files)
- Soundscape analysis
- Random Forest model analysis (which uses AI).
RFCx Arbimon is being used by scientists to support conservation and biodiversity projects all over the world.
How You Can Get Involved
Migrate to the Arbimon platform. If you’re a biologist or ecologist, visit the RFCx Arbimon support page for more information on how you can get set up.
Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.