Preserve Our Forests

AI’s Newest Frontier: Tracking Forest Recovery

Newly developed technology can track the sounds of tropical forests and use the information gathered to tackle climate change.


Amazon Rainforest
hanming_huang | Public Domain

In a new study, scientists have found that by eavesdropping, Artificial Intelligence can determine the presence of different species, and in turn determine the health of recovering ecosystems. An AI model was trained to recognize the sounds of over 100 species. 

In areas of Ecuador, logging has decimated up to 90% of tropical forests. Historically, scientists were tracking regrowth through a timely and invasive process called metabarcoding, requiring the analysis of strands of DNA. They have now discovered that bioacoustic monitoring with AI, which has been found to lead to similar findings and can be used everywhere, just requires somebody to place the device in the study area. 

By utilizing the data found from these soundscapes, conservationists can analyze and track forest recovery and in turn mitigate effects of climate change and loss of plant and animal species. Since tropical forests are key to offsetting carbon emissions, knowing their recovery status allows scientists to more accurately predict and understand ecosystem dynamics and future impacts of climate change. 

This new technology will aid in the important task of preserving our forests and could be one of the next steps in fighting the effects of climate change. 

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