In 2011, when being on holiday in Borneo, the engineer Topher White came across an illegal logger cutting down trees just 100 meters from where the ranger station is located. Sounds in rain forests are so diverse and complex, making it hard for humans to differentiate the noise of a chainsaw cutting.
Aiming to find solutions to protect the rainforests, Topher decided to start a nonprofit organization. Via continuous progress and donations from the community, Rainforest Connection (RFCx) was founded.
They have upgraded a large number of recycled old mobile phones into solar sound-monitoring devices used in rain forest, making them scattered deeply in the jungle.
In this way, regardless of whether it is raining, sunny, or all-day-wet, once the monitoring system detects the sound of illegal logging, such as a chainsaw or a truck, it will be the first to alert the local rangers to the location of the illegal logging, allowing them to search quickly.
Topher said that because of their reliability, Huawei phones are used extensively by the Rain Forest Conservation group in rain forest monitoring in Costa Rica. More than 2,500 square kilometers of land (about 200,000 football fields) have been protected through Huawei's phones.
This innovative plan faces multiple challenges.
To begin with, the staff has to figure out how to collect and transmit audio data and how to store and manage the continuously growing amount of data on the back-end platform under a harsh environment of high temperature, humidity, and no fixed power supply.
The second challenge they need to deal with is how to conduct real-time data analysis and accurately judge the illegal logging location. The complexity of the sounds in the rain forest, coupled with the huge amount of data, requires a very high algorithm for accurate identification.
Huawei and rain forest protection organizations are carrying out a series of cooperation to develop innovative platforms including collection equipment, storage services, and intelligent analysis to jointly protect the rain forest ecology.
The big data of HUAWEI Cloud allow it to store and manage the audio data collected by each collection point. Based on AI service HUAWEI CLOUD AI and ModelArts tools, an intelligent algorithm model is developed to realize accurate identification of chainsaw and truck noise.
Huawei’s technicians are testing the collected sounds from spider monkeys on the ModelArts platform.
In addition to prevent illegal logging, rain forest conservation groups need to monitor the survival of endangered species such as spider monkeys.
To this end, Huawei and the rainforest protection organization have jointly built the intelligent analysis model of spider monkey language, providing information about the habitat, living habits, and other related information. The data collected by mobile phones are not only used to protect spider monkeys but also for countless species.
"AI allows me to train machines and algorithms, helping me detect species," says Jenna Lawson, a doctoral researcher at Imperial College London. “Right now, I'm trying to collect more than 200,000 pieces of data. Based on that data, I can find the calls of different animals and then make a map of the habitat of different species."