A team of scientists from Imperial College London, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership, together known as the SAFE Project, has been recording the health of the Borneo rainforest. Using solar-powered Raspberry Pis and sensors, they can listen to the sound of the forest and give an indicator of its health and the state of its biodiversity. The data is transmitted over the mobile data network.
Professor Rob Ewers, from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial and Principal Investigator for the SAFE Project, said: “The health of a forest ecosystem can often be attributed to how much noise it creates, signalling how many species are around. As well as listening to whole soundscapes, we hope that in the future the system will be able to pick up individual species and record their presence – or absence – from certain areas.”
The team has made some of the recordings available online so that you can listen to the sounds of the rainforest. They have also, intriguingly, made instructions for recreating the Pi/sensor platform available for anyone to reproduce; this includes a full parts list and assembly instructions. The code for the platform is available on GitHub.