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  • Archive for July, 2013

    Rainforest wildlife tracked by new audio software

    2013 - 07.24

    Scientists have revealed a new method of identifying the thousands of animals and birds that call the rainforest home, and have highlighted the importance of ensuring their natural habitat is protected for the future.

    A research team from Puerto Rico has been working on the development of technology that is able to analyse audio recordings and identify wildlife by the sounds that they make.

    The new technology will make monitoring the wildlife that make their homes in tropical ecosystems far “faster and easier” for biologists, the BBC reported.

    Lead researcher on the project, Dr Mitch Aide, from the University of Puerto Rico, told the news source: “Acoustic recording devices have been around for a long time, but what hasn’t been around is a way to manage and then analyse all of these recordings.”

    Until recently, each of the different species had to be manually identified by researchers, which was a time-consuming process.

    “If a researcher had 50,000 one-minute recordings, it would take 833 hours to listen to them just once, no pausing,” added Dr Aide.

    The new technology will be capable of processing the same amount of audio in around one hour, as the software creates an “acoustic signature” for each species using samples of different animal calls.

    The software – which works in real time – will also help researchers to track the changing face of the rainforest and the impact climate change and deforestation is having on wildlife. “We have poor information on how climate change and land use change are affecting the distribution and abundance on species. We need to have good long-term data, not from just a few sites, but from sites all around the world,” he explained.

    Ethical companies such as Greenwood Management are already committed to lowering the rate of deforestation across the world. It is hoped that many more will follow in the footsteps of these firms to ensure that the forests and the wildlife that call them home are protected.

    APEC member economies working to fight forest crime

    2013 - 07.03

    Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) member economies are teaming up with the private sector in order to work together on stamping out illegal logging and associated trade – something which companies such as Greenwood Management know is crucial to the protection of global forests.

    Forest management officials discussed plans to boost industry sustainability and to promote trade in legal forest products at an event held last week in Medan, North Sumatra province, Indonesia. Attending the event were representatives from conservation bodies along with business and development organisations.

    Chair of the APEC Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade, Professor Dr Abdul Rahman, told Scoop.co.nz: “Trade in forest products is an important source of income and growth within many economies in the region. Illegal timber production and processing, and the consumption of these products, undermine the sector and put the environment at great risk.

    “Keeping legal producers on an even playing field is critical to ensuring the future of the world’s forests and the trade they support. Robust engagement between Governments and the private sector can help to identify lasting, market-based solutions,” Professor Rahman added.

    According to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, APEC economies account for more than 50 per cent of the world’s forests, as well as 60 per cent of the worldwide production of forest products and 80 per cent of worldwide trade in those products. Forest product trade value totalled more than $150 billion in 2010.

    Whilst firms such as Greenwood Management are already hard at work encouraging sustainable planting across the globe, more needs to be done to ensure that forests can bring benefits for the future.

    Budi Hermawan from PT Kayu Lapis Indonesia, a certified producer of legal timber, told the publication: “Initiatives that promote legal timber trade, including bans on illegally logged products in consumer markets, are needed by the industry. But the growing web of rules and regulations can be confusing for exporters and importers, and threaten to undermine the potential benefits.”

    In order to develop greater cohesion on the subject of forest protection and sustainability, APEC forest management officials will hold meetings with anti-corruption and transparency experts from across the member economies this week.