Integrating technologies for scalable ecology and conservation

See our new open-access paper on technology, ecology, and conservation led by David Marvin

Abstract

Integration of multiple technologies greatly increases the spatial and temporal scales over which ecological patterns and processes can be studied, and threats to protected ecosystems can be identified and mitigated. A range of technology options relevant to ecologists and conservation practitioners are described, including ways they can be linked to increase the dimensionality of data collection efforts. Remote sensing, ground-based, and data fusion technologies are broadly discussed in the context of ecological research and conservation efforts. Examples of technology integration across all of these domains are provided for large-scale protected area management and investigation of ecological dynamics. Most technologies are low-cost or open-source, and when deployed can reach economies of scale that reduce per-area costs dramatically. The large-scale, long-term data collection efforts presented here can generate new spatio-temporal understanding of threats faced by natural ecosystems and endangered species, leading to more effective conservation strategies.