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Conserving Nature with Technology

Economic prosperity has pulled many people out of poverty, but it has also caused serious damage to the environment. As environmental degradation begins to affect human well-being, nature and the environment have become an increasingly major concern for governments and for the public. Together with environmental organizations and other partners, Huawei is exploring how to apply its ICT solutions to protect the environment and reduce the human impact on the environment.

STORY-"Nature Guardians" Deployed in Five New Countries: Protecting Nature and Endangered Animals

Huawei sustainability

Huawei, RFCx, and a local organization working to end the poaching of Balkan Chamois in Greece's Northern Pindos National Park

Tropical rainforests are the "lungs of the planet", absorbing about 30% of the world's carbon dioxide. They are also home to more than half of animal and plant species in the world and are vital to maintaining biodiversity.

As the first line of defense, forest rangers are responsible for preventing fires and illegal logging, as well as protecting wildlife in the forests. However, their patrols are often not enough to safeguard the forests. By the time rangers find out about illegal logging and rush to intervene, the loggers may have already finished felling trees and escaped with the timber.

Huawei and RFCx are working together to use HUAWEI CLOUD AI to identify sounds of illegal logging through a solar-powered sound monitoring system deployed in the rainforest.

The "Nature Guardian" system collects sound data and uploads it to a cloud server. It can run 24/7 even in the extreme temperature, humidity, and rainfall conditions of a rainforest. Whenever it detects the sounds of illegal logging, such as chainsaws and trucks, it immediately sends the location to forest rangers so that they can quickly intervene.

Today, Guardians are no longer just used to detect sounds of logging in rainforests. In 2020, RFCx and Huawei worked together to apply the Guardians in new domains. In Greece, we used Guardians to monitor sounds of gunshots in protected areas to protect wild antelopes from poachers. In Ireland, Guardians are used to identify calls of whales and dolphins so that approaching ships can redirect their course to avoid disturbing or harming these marine species. In Chile, we use Guardians to prevent illegal poaching in Nahuelbuta National Park and to protect the endangered Darwin's foxes. In Palawan in the Philippines and Sarawak in Malaysia, Huawei is working with RFCx and local environmental protection departments to protect local tropical rainforests and monitor illegal logging in the rainforests in real time.

By the end of 2020, "Nature Guardians" were deployed in 22 protected areas in 18 different countries across five continents, helping local rangers and conservationists protect nature and biodiversity.

  • 22

    protected areas in 18 countries across 5 continents where "Nature Guardians" are deployed

STORY-Protecting the Palawan Rainforest in the Philippines

Huawei sustainability

Topher White and a worker installing the Nature Guardian system in the Palawan Rainforest

Palawan is a long, narrow island in the southwest Philippines. Accounting for the bulk of the nation's forest cover, the Palawan rainforest is considered to be the last ecological frontier in the archipelago nation. As one of the world's most biodiverse regions, the rainforest is home to many rare species.

With illegal logging and frequent forest fires, Palawan loses about 5,500 hectares of rainforest every year – the equivalent of 7,700 football pitches. Moreover, forest rangers patrolling the rainforest are in constant danger from illegal loggers carrying weapons.

The good news for the Palawan rainforest is that a technology-driven protection project for the rainforest has been initiated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Philippines' wireless and mobile carrier Smart Communications, RFCx, and Huawei.

The dedication of the local DENR forest rangers in Palawan is known worldwide. They spare no efforts in protecting this last frontier of Philippine wilderness from logging and environmental threats, and face enormous challenges and great danger. Huawei and Smart Communications teamed up to give RFCx an opportunity to help these brave people. ——Topher White, RFCx CEO and Founder

Results have been promising since the rollout of the Guardians in January 2020, with DENR reporting that many alerts of illegal logging have been verified and addressed by forest rangers. 

STORY-Technology Helps Protect the Northeastern China Tiger and Leopard National Park

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorizes Amur tigers as "endangered" and Amur leopards as "critically endangered" on its Red List. In a field study on the prevalence of these animals in China, a research team from Beijing Normal University uncovered invaluable information: From 2012 to 2014, there were at least 27 Amur tigers and 42 Amur leopards active in China.

However, all of their work was done manually, and slow data collection made conservation efforts extremely inefficient. To address this issue, the Amur Tiger and  Amur Leopard Monitoring and Research Center, part of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China, developed a sky-to-earth system that covers the entire park. This system is the first of its kind in the world, and monitors, assesses, and manages natural resources in real time.

Powered by a 700 MHz LTE network built by Huawei and Jishi Media, the system can stream real-time HD video captured by infrared camera traps, ecological data, and footage from road checkpoints and fire safety cameras. The system also supports video calls and the tracking of ranger patrols, so that conservationists have remote access to real-time data to support their research.

By the end of 2020, the LTE network almost covered the entire 14,600-square-kilometer national park. Over the past year and a half, the monitoring system has captured over one million traces of wild animals.

Conservationists have discovered new litters of cubs in the tiger and leopard populations every year, offering hope for those who work to protect the future of these majestic animals.

Now we don't need to collect the data in person. All information is transmitted to us in the blink of an eye. We then use big data analytics and AI to reorganize and parse animal species and understand the status of their populations and habitats. It has made a world of difference to our research and marks a turning point in our work. ——Dr. Feng Limin, Tiger and Leopard Research Team, Beijing Normal University; Amur Tiger and Amur Leopard Monitoring and Research Center, National Forestry and Grassland Administration, China

An LTE base station in the Northeastern China Tiger and Leopard National Park

An LTE base station in the Northeastern China Tiger and Leopard National Park that reuses existing fire towers