Rainforest Connection & Huawei: Acoustics for Biodiversity Monitoring and Threat Detection

Rainforest Connection
Published: 21 September 2021
Last edited: 21 September 2021
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Summary

Rainforest Connection (RFCx) has built the connective tissue to make acoustics a scalable worldwide approach to data collection and analysis for conservation. Our platform, including tools for biodiversity analysis and threat detection and a suite of hardware, enables people to understand ecosystem impacts. 

 

The RFCx system can be used to: 

  • Send real-time alerts to people who are able to investigate potential threats.

  • Find patterns of activity for planned interventions and measure effectiveness of responses.

  • Accommodate large data sets that can be used for biodiversity monitoring and shared.

  • Facilitate in-depth, long-term acoustic monitoring.

  • Evaluate the impacts of different management or conservation activities.

  • Follow the population dynamics of species over many years.

Classifications

Region
Caribbean
Central America
East Europe
Oceania
South America
Southeast Asia
Scale of implementation
Global
Local
Multi-national
National
Subnational
Ecosystem
Coastal forest
Deep sea
Forest ecosystems
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Open sea
Temperate deciduous forest
Temperate evergreen forest
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Theme
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Disaster risk reduction
Ecosystem services
Forest Management
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Indigenous people
Islands
Land management
Legal & policy frameworks
Local actors
Mitigation
Poaching and environmental crime
Protected and conserved areas governance
Protected and conserved areas management planning
Restoration
Science and research
Species management
Sustainable livelihoods
Challenges
Desertification
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Wildfires
Ecosystem loss
Poaching
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land

Location

West Sumatra, Indonesia | Chile, Philippines, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Romania, Ecuador, Greece, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Peru
Nahuelbuta, Chile
Palawan, Philippines
Tembe Reserve, Brazil
Puerto Rico
Romania
Ecuador
Greece
Sarawak, Malaysia
Osa, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Peru

Challenges

  • GSM connectivity in remote areas. Guardian devices require connectivity in order to stream the audio data, and vulnerable ecosystems often exist in regions where such connectivity is sparse or uneven.

  • The hardware can be affected by varied environmental conditions, such as weather and termites. For instance, in the low light of winter, it can be difficult for the solar panels to capture enough sunlight to power the devices. 

  • The devices are often deployed in hard-to-reach areas with difficult terrain.

  • Having the proper storage space in pace for mass amounts of audio data. 

Beneficiaries

  • Local partner organizations, NGOs, indigenous tribes and governments seeking to reduce environmental destruction. 

  • Biologists, ecologists, conservationists and citizen scientists around the globe.

How do the building blocks interact?

Huawei and RFCx have collaborated to create a platform that includes equipment collection, storage services, and intelligent analytics. RFCx Guardians collect sound data and upload it to the Huawei Cloud in real-time, after which Huawei's big data service is used to store and manage the audio data. Concurrently, Huawei has worked with RFCx to develop a more accurate intelligent algorithm model based on Huawei's advanced artificial intelligence service (Huawei Cloud AI) and tools (ModelArts) to achieve more accurate identification of sounds. In addition, Huawei is helping RFCx build intelligent models that detect and analyze the sounds of certain animals at various project sites.

Impacts

  • More effective conservation and land management policies and practices 

  • Education, scientific discovery, and awareness of species presences and biodiversity changes over time, including threatened, vulnerable and endangered species 

  • A decline in destructive illegal activity in vulnerable ecosystems, including illicit logging, mining, poaching, and land conversion.

 

Story

Rainforest Connection

RFCx directly aids the efforts of local in-country partner organizations, NGOs, indigenous tribes and governments struggling to reduce environmental destruction. Our platform is a key element in the protection of thousands of hectares of forest in Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Philippines and other locales.

 

For example, since 2015 we have developed, deployed and improved our solutions in order to empower the Tembé indigenous tribe in the state of Pará, Brazil to protect ~60,000 hectares of their native rainforest using real-time data and alerts. RFCx, working closely with the Tembé indigenous tribe, has learned a tremendous amount about what makes an anti-illegal logging project successful in terms of technology, infrastructure, and interpersonal relations. In 2019 and 2020, RFCx undertook development in the realms of hardware, software, coordination with local governments, local network expansion, and strategic data sharing. The result has been a system of effective reporting and communication to extract data regarding illegal activities happening in the Reserve.

 

Additionally, in West Sumatra, the way the local patrols were being conducted in the village forests has been altered due to the deforestation information gathered by RFCx. Our local partner has established a totally new organizational mechanism to respond to data from the Guardians which showed that illegal logging is rampant in the area. Moreover, our local partner is using the results from the webtools to showcase how RFCx systems can be an example or storefront for forest rangers and local government entities, and will encourage them to make decisions using forensic evidence and field incident reports/findings from RFCx data.

Contributed by

todd_40245's picture

Todd Hatcher Rainforest Connection

Other contributors

Topher White
Rainforest Connection
Antony Harfield
Rainforest Connection
Bourhan Yassin
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Dr. Marconi Campos-Cerquiera
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Mahreen Qazi
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Chrissy Durkin
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Jack LeBien
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