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How bioacoustics can transform conservation – Wildtech event in Palo Alto

03 / 10 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

Satellites have revolutionized forest monitoring, but there remains a major gap in biodiversity monitoring in forests since scientists can’t directly measure factors like hunting, sub-canopy fires, the impact of invasive animals, and light degradation very well from space. Bioacoustics — the use of sound recorders in nature — can help fill the gap. By capturing an entire soundscape, they can document a wide range of animals and detect very minor changes in ecological communities. They can also be useful for real-time interdiction by detecting gunshots, chainsaws, and the sound of motorbikes and truck engines and relaying alerts to local communities or authorities, as pilot projects implemented by Rainforest Connection have shown. In the future, large-scale deployment of networked bioacoustic devices could enable scientists to better understand ecological communities, more effectively determine what works and what doesn’t work in conservation, and track biodiversity trends. In recognition of the potential of soundscape monitoring, on October 17th Mongabay WildTech is holding a discussion panel with two scientists who have worked extensively with remote sensing tools, including bioacoustic systems: Dr. Zuzana Burivalova, field ecologist at University of Wisconsin, lead author of a 2019 Science paper on bioacoustics, and the lead researcher on Mongabay’s Conservation Effectiveness series. Dr. Matthew McKown, CEO of Conservation Metrics, a company that provides “automated alternatives to historically labor-intensive wildlife survey efforts, combining cutting-edge remote sensing technology, statistical rigor, and extensive scientific expertise to drive down costs and increase the scale and effectiveness of wildlife metrics.” The panel will be moderated…

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