Speaking at TechUK

Success story

There is an increasing interest from a variety of sectors in understanding how various forms of technology can help inform better site planning, investments and quantify the outcome of long term programmes. I was invited to speak at a TechUK event on Technology and Biodiversity this December.

TechUK did a fantastic job of putting together a great series of speakers. They covered everything, from the regulatory changes in the UK such as The Environment Act 2021, to some excellent case studies of how technology is being deployed in Africa. This included some challenging areas such as very large reserves in Kenya, and they also discussed counter wildlife tracking across very porous borders in Africa.

Bioacoustic Monitoring

Atkins Associate Director Paul Watts and myself explored how bioacoustic monitoring could be used to better understand what species are present and how, over time, the species mix may change on a site as it’s managed for a different purpose such as nature based recovery.

Wilder Sensing processes audio files using Machine Learning to identify what is present on a site. Thanks to the recent development of Machine Learning combined with the incredible ability of the Cloud to scale processing power and data storage, Wilder Sensing enables bioacoustic monitoring to record and process audio data for hundreds of audio recorders monitoring 24/7 our natural environment, giving an unprecedented ability to truly evaluate land management policies impact on the ecosystem.

tech uk woodpecker2
The little Spotted Woodpecker, a notoriously difficult bird to find during ordinary site surveys; using bioacoustic passive monitoring makes much easier to evaluate the presence of those species that are difficult to spot.

There are a number of cryptic bird species in the UK which can be hard to find on a standard site survey – notably Little Spotted Woodpecker (see picture), Woodcock and Long Eared Owls. Early results at a number of trial sites in the UK show we can identify Woodcock and other challenging species such as Short-Toed Treecreeper!

From a variety of trial sites, the team are uploading some 2,500 files a week; early results are promising but lots to do to ensure the results are robust.

Watch the full presentation on the Linklaters Media Platform: Video