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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: Acoustic environmental monitoring: a low-cost efficient tool for evaluating human exploitation of tropical forests

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Project type: 
Studentship

Developing low-cost acoustic sensors to detect and identify anthropogenic activities in forest environments.

Tropical forests are being cleared at a rate of 13 million ha per year, and about 50% of protected areas continue to suffer ongoing degradation. The main drivers of change are habitat disturbance, hunting and over exploitation of forest resources. While developments in remote sensing can detect land-cover changes such as deforestation, it is limited to areas of wholesale land conversion and only after the event. In addition, cryptic disturbances such as hunting and resource extraction are vastly under-reported. To address this shortcoming, this project aims to develop low-cost acoustic sensors to detect and identify anthropogenic activities in forest environments in real time. Developing hardware and software for the detection of specific audio cues such as gunshots, chain saws and heavy machinery, we aim to evaluate potential applications for continuous monitoring of forest exploitation and policing of illegal activities by forest departments and conservation managers.

Supervisors: Biological Science, Prof. C. Patrick Doncaster: Biological Science, Prof. Alex Rogers: Electronics and Computer Science.
Funding provider: SPITFIRE & Institute for Life Sciences
Funding dates: April 2015 – Oct 2018

 

Acoustic sensor and post-event evidence of hunting and logging in Beli
Acoustic sensor and post-event evidence of hunting and logging in Beli

Related research groups

Environmental Biosciences
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