September 6, 2021

Harnessing technology to enhance the protection of our biodiversity

Sustainable Finance in Ireland

IoT, AI and developing smart sensors are prime examples of how technology and innovative development can support our efforts in enabling sustainable growth. Developments in technology have increased the ability to respond to the scale of the existing environmental threats, creating a level of conservation that was never previously possible. Air quality, water pollution and effective waste management are key factors that present significant challenges in the environment. 

Earlier this year, an innovative ‘smart’ buoy was launched off the Irish coastline after an agreed partnership between two NGOs, the Rainforest Connection and Ireland ORCA. Bioacoustics sensors attached to the buoy can detect the calls and activities of marine organisms. Their calls are transmitted to a cloud platform and then measured by AI, providing data to monitor distribution, behaviour and the impact of noise pollution. Based on this information, conservation measures can be made. 

As well as information on ecosystems, acoustics and cloud AI systems can be implemented to determine potential threats to habitats and species. In South America, acoustic sensors with AI operating on the cloud can detect activities that may threaten the survival of particular species. If a threat is detected, alerts are transmitted to key people, enabling a rapid response. Illegal logging is one particular activity that contributes to nearly 90% of global deforestation and is a major contributor to habitat and biodiversity loss. As with other systems, this project provides an additional form of protection by generating threat alerts in real-time. 

As well as acoustics solutions capable of detecting sound, monitoring systems can utilise a range of technologies tailored to meet certain projects. By harnessing data analytics, these unique systems can provide insights into measuring patterns, behaviours and threats, allowing experts to remotely deliver adaptive management plans and saving significant time spent collecting data in the field.