Choosing the right tool for Biodiversity Monitoring


As the world’s population has grown, so has our reliance and impact on global biodiversity. The Living Planet Report 2022 from WWF illustrates these trends in global biodiversity and the health of our planet. The latest publication reveals global wildlife populations have plummeted by 69% on average since 1970. The rate of decline is a severe warning that the rich biodiversity that sustains all life on our planet is in crisis, putting every species at risk – including us.

Advances in technology provide us with tools to not only understand and monitor biodiversity but also to enhance conservation efforts. Here are some cutting-edge technologies changing the face of biodiversity monitoring and conservation.

Remote Sensing and Satellite Imaging

Satellites offer the advantage of observing vast swathes of land and ocean, providing a macro perspective that can reveal changes in habitats and populations over time. Advanced algorithms can analyse the collected data, enabling the detection of deforestation, urban expansion, and other threats to biodiversity. High-resolution satellite imaging also facilitates the tracking of large animal species and their movement patterns. This technology is being employed by various initiatives, such as Global Forest Watch and NASA’s Biodiversity and Ecological Forecasting Program.

Key Benefits:

  • Can Review Historic Data
  • Global Coverage

Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)

Drones provide a unique vantage point and accessibility, especially in hard-to-reach or dangerous locations. They’re used for mapping habitats, monitoring wildlife populations, and even for anti-poaching initiatives. Equipped with thermal and infrared cameras, drones can capture data round the clock and provide insight into nocturnal species’ behaviour.

Key Benefits: 

  • Access to Image hard-to-reach areas
  • High Speed to cover large areas

Bioacoustic / Acoustic Monitoring

The sound of a natural habitat can provide a lot of information about its biodiversity. By analysing audio data, we can understand the diversity of species, their behaviour and distribution. 

Cutting-edge recording equipment, which can remain outdoors or even underwater for extended periods of time, has transformed the field to enable usage in a variety of environments. Repeat measurements can be made to not only baseline a landscape, but measure change in biodiversity over time.

Many species can be effectively identified through bioacoustic monitoring. The diversity of which, along with the presence of key indicator species that can reflect wider environmental health.

Key Benefits:

  • Cost-effective
  • Species identification
  • Scalable for small and large land sizes
  • Long-term monitoring for trends and environmental insights
  • Non-invasive monitoring


DNA metabarcoding allows for the identification of species in an environmental sample by matching DNA fragments against a reference database. eDNA (environmental DNA) analysis, a sub-field of metabarcoding, involves identifying species by analysing DNA left in the environment, such as in water or soil samples. These techniques help scientists track species and understand the biodiversity of a particular region in a non-invasive way.

Key Benefits:

  • Invasive Species and Disease Monitoring
  • Non-Invasive
  • Wide Range of Species Detection