A conversation with University of Wisconsin soundscape ecologist Zuzana Burivalova, Conservation Metrics CEO Matthew McKown, and Mongabay Founder Rhett A. Butler on the potential for bioacoustics to improve conservation outcomes. This Mongabay WildTech / Bay Area Tropical Forest Network event is generously being hosted by the Palo Alto Patagonia store.
Satellites have revolutionized forest monitoring, but there remains a major gap in biodiversity monitoring since we can’t directly measure factors like hunting, sub-canopy fires, and degradation very well from space. Bioacoustics — the use of sound recorders in nature — can help fill the gap. By capturing an entire soundscape, they can document a wide range of animals and detect very minor changes in ecological communities. They can also be useful for real-time interdiction by detecting gunshots, chainsaws, and the sound of motorbikes and truck engines and relaying alerts to local communities or authorities.
But the really exciting aspect comes from making audio data available to scientists. The beauty of bioacoustic data is researchers can run algorithms to map soundscapes, allowing us to better understand ecological communities, what works and what doesn’t work in conservation, and track biodiversity trends.
The combination of networked bioacoustic devices and camera traps could eventually transform the field of conservation.
Dr. Zuzana Burivalova, field ecologist at University of Wisconsin and lead author of a 2019 Science paper on bioacoustics
Dr. Matthew McKown, CEO of Conservation Metrics, a company that provides automated alternatives to historically labor-intensive wildlife survey efforts, combining cutting-edge remote sensing technology, statistical rigor, and extensive scientific expertise to drive down costs and increase the scale and effectiveness of wildlife metrics.
Rhett A. Butler, founder of Mongabay, a conservation news platform
Doors open at 7pm for snacks, beverages, and networking. The discussion panel starts at 7:30pm.
Space is limited so please RSVP to reserve your spot.
Join us on April 5 from 6-8:30 pm for a Bay Area Tropical Forest Network (BATFN) event held at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University.
The event will focus on jaguar conservation in the Gran Chaco of Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina, a dry tropical forest ecosystem that is fast being destroyed for industrial ranches and farms. Anthony Giordano of S.P.E.C.I.E.S and the Chaco Jaguar Conservation Project will discuss efforts to protect jaguars and their habitat.
The Gran Chaco of Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina is disappearing faster than any other habitat on earth, including the Amazon Rainforest. Rapid deforestation due to unsustainable cattle-ranching is fragmenting the last frontier of jaguars, causing conflict between the predators and people as their natural prey vanishes. By building trust and solving the growing conflict problems between people and jaguars brought on by severe habitat loss, the Chaco Jaguar Conservation Project is leading efforts to protect jaguars at the far southern end of their range. Our grand vision? Integrate our knowledge of the jaguar’s ecology into a working strategic framework to connect and restore the forests and savannas across the region with the most unique mammal species in the western hemisphere.
Admission is free and open to all, with refreshments (including wine and beer) courtesy of Mongabay and the Bay Area Tropical Forest Network (BATFN).
Join us November 13 from 6:30-8:30 pm for a special event co-hosted by the Bay Area Tropical Forest Network (BATFN), Mongabay and The Foster, watercolor artist Tony Foster’s beautiful art gallery in Palo Alto.
Our guest speaker is Zuzana Burivalova, a Princeton ecologist who specializes in tropical forest conservation and bioacoustic monitoring of forest ecosystems. For the past nine months, Burivalova has served as the research lead for a Mongabay project that aims to evaluate the effectiveness of several popular conservation interventions. Burivalova is now producing a series of featured articles in collaboration with Mongabay journalists. In her presentation, she will speak about her conservation effectiveness findings and methodology. Her remarks will be followed by discussion. Guests will also be able to view Tony Foster’s landscape watercolors, which are wonderfully presented at The Foster gallery.
Snacks and refreshments will be served.
Admission is free and open to all but please RVSP so we know how much food and drink to purchase.
Monday, March 6th
5:30 – 7:30 pm
The Nature Conservancy California Chapter
201 Mission Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, March 9th
4:30 – 6:30 pm
Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA)
Giannini Hall 248
University of California, Berkeley
From the authors:
Tropical forests are an undervalued asset in meeting the greatest global challenges of our time—averting climate change and promoting sustainable development. Despite their importance, tropical forests and their ecosystems are being destroyed at a high and even increasing rate in most forest-rich countries. The good news is that the science, economics, and politics are aligned to support a major international effort to reverse tropical deforestation.
Why Forests? Why Now? synthesizes the latest research on the importance of tropical forests in a way that is accessible to anyone interested in climate change and development and to readers already familiar with the problem of deforestation. It makes the case to decision-makers in rich countries that rewarding developing countries for protecting their forests is urgent, affordable, and achievable.
“Why Forests? Why Now? should be mandatory reading for people who already care deeply about tropical forests, as well as for those who remain not yet convinced.”
—Alec Baldwin, Actor and international advocate for forests and indigenous peoples
“Seymour and Busch highlight an important achievement of global climate negotiations—agreement on cooperation to reduce tropical deforestation—and suggest an effective path for the realization of this goal.”
—Christiana Figueres, former Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
This comprehensive synthesis of the latest research makes the case that tropical forests are essential for both climate stability and sustainable development. Why Forests? Why Now? covers every aspect of forest conservation and finance to underscore the urgency, affordability, and feasibility of scaling up funding for reducing deforestation, particularly through performance-based approaches.
Walt Reid, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
– Chris Elliott, Climate and Land Use Alliance (moderator)
– Frances Seymour, Center for Global Development
– Dan Nepstad, Earth Innovation Institute
– Donna Lee, Climate Change and Land Use Policy Consultant
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
343 Second St. Los Altos, CA 94022
Despite their importance, tropical forests and their ecosystems are being destroyed at a high, increasing rate in most forest-rich countries. The good news is that the science, economics, and politics are aligned to support a framework for international cooperation to reverse tropical deforestation. Now is the time for countries to increase investment in protecting tropical forests.