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Talking Tech and Conservation

  • Date: 15 September 2014
  • Author: Jon Hoekstra
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Technology is transforming conservation by giving people super-powers to help save nature.

Thanks to advanced technology for satellite-based remote sensing, we can see more, from farther away, and in greater detail. WWF and our partners are using such technology to monitor some of the world’s most biodiverse and threatened forests from Sumatra and Borneo to the Congo and the Amazon. GPS tracking technology enables us to go on virtual ride alongs with far-ranging and elusive wildlife like elephants and jaguars, thereby gaining valuable insights into their daily and seasonal movements. And the combination of low-cost remote-control planes and surveillance technology is enhancing security for rhinos and other wildlife, and aiding law enforcement in the fight against wildlife crime.

I had the honor to be a guest on the Diane Rehm show to talk about how these and many other exciting innovations are transforming conservation. I was joined by Rebecca Moore from Google Earth Outreach, and Andrea Crosta, founder of WildLeaks. You can listen to our conversation here.

You might also be interested to read my essay on Networking Nature in Foreign Affairs magazine.

And stay tuned for an upcoming presentation I will be giving on this topic at SXSW Eco in early October.

Meanwhile, you can learn about some of WWF’s most innovative applications of technology to conservation around the world:

Eyes on the Forest

Rediscovery of the mysterious saola

Camera traps to study snow leopards

Mapping and measuring the economic value of nature: InVEST

Monitoring coral reefs

As WWF pursues our mission to conserve nature, technology promises new ways to reduce threats and solve environmental problems. I believe that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of what technology might do for conservation. Innovative technology applications are begin tested and scaled all around the world.

What are some technologies that you are most excited about?

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