Tech4Nature: Safeguarding Biodiversity in Mexico


    Jan 19, 2023

    In this guest post, our partner Rainforest Connection gives an overview of the IUCN-Huawei Tech4Nature project in Mexico to protect biodiversity in Mexico’s Dzilam State Reserve in Yucatan.

    Rainforest Connection authors

    Project region:

    Dzilam State Reserve

    Aerial view off the coast of Dzilam State Reserve / Image source: Huawei

    Dzilam State Reserve protects a rich diversity of habitats and is home to some of Mexico’s endemic and threatened species. Due to human activities and climate change, the local ecosystem is in decline. The jaguar (Panthera onca) is perhaps the most famous species that occurs in the area — it is rare and near-threatened according to the IUCN. The goal is to increase the protection of the species in the area.

    Monitoring this species in the area is not easy and the use of different methods, such as visual sampling with the use of a trap camera and the aid of passive acoustic monitoring, can increase the chances of detection. Passive acoustic monitoring will also provide the opportunity to study other species of interest for conservation.

    CMinds’ Regina Cervera installs an infrared camera\

    Project scope

    RFCx acoustic technology and RFCx scientists are monitoring biodiversity in the Dzilam State Reserve to detect multiple species of special interest, including Panthera onca and migratory and endemic local/native species of birds.

    Project significance and description

    Rainforest Connection is working with Huawei Mexico, C Minds, the Polytechnic University of Yucatan (UPY) and the Sustainable Development Ministry of Mexico for system installation and training to monitor biodiversity within the Dzilam State Reserve to understand a species presence and ecosystem health using acoustics.

    The goal of monitoring and analyzing the acoustic data from this area is to develop a baseline understanding of 25 species’ presence and occupancy in addition to executing soundscape analyses for a holistic perspective of the ecosystem.

    The RFCx team has created a species-specific pattern matching model for the 25 species of interest determined in collaboration with the partnership teams. The acoustic data collected and analyzed using species-specific Pattern Matching models by the Rainforest Connection science team will facilitate occupancy analyses that enables us to understand species presence in correlation with various environmental variables. To characterize the acoustic landscape of the fauna in the areas of interest, RFCx will conduct a soundscape analysis on the Arbimon platform to characterize differences temporally and spatially.

    This analysis represents the soundscape, a set of recordings, in a visual form reflecting all the sources of sound in an area (biotic, abiotic and anthropogenic). The result of this analysis is a 3d figure that shows the intensity of different frequencies (e.g. species) that are being used throughout the day, season, or year.

    These soundscapes can be used for two analyses:

    • Determine the acoustic space, which has been shown to be a good measure of acoustic species richness (Aide et al., 2017).
    • An ordination analyses based on the time/frequency composition of the soundscapes, which is useful for comparing the soundscapes among sites and seasons.

    There is great interest in monitoring this region due to the rapid decline of the ecosystem and the jaguar can be used as an emblematic and flagship species that will make it possible to protect other rare and endangered species that occur there.

    Some of the species monitored:

    Click the link for sound samples of the Yucatan woodpecker.

    Click the link for sound samples of the Yucatan jay.

    Photo credits: Gabriel Leite, RFCx Biodiversity Scientist

    Click the link for sound samples of the Black-headed trogon.

    Click the links to find out more about the work of Rainforest Connection and to learn more about the Mexico Tech4Nature project.

    Further reading

    Read more about the projects in which Rainforest Connection is partnership with Huawei and other local partners to protect threatened ecosystems under the Huawei TECH4ALL initiative.

    Rainforests and forests [Primary objective]

    Forest, Wetlands & Oceans [Primary objective]


    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.


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