Biodiversity & Environment

These projects utilised new features of the Zooniverse platform, including self-build project tools.

Wildlife waterholes

In this project we asked users to help us to identify waterholes in key conservation areas in Cambodia and Namibia for wildlife monitoring and conservation purposes. The project used high resolution Earth Observation satellite imagery from the European Space Agency and Urthecast.

Identifying the location, size and persistence of waterholes helps scientists and WWF conservationists to predict important animal migrations and take steps to protect populations. This information can also be used to help counter illegal poaching activity, as poachers often target waterholes because of their abundance of wildlife.

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Guiana Gold-mining watch

This project focused on the Guiana Shield, encompassing Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. It is part of the Amazon biome and holds the largest remaining tracts of relatively undisturbed rainforest in the world. Yet, the region is being severely impacted by uncontrolled gold mining activity, especially artisanal and small-scale mining. In French Guiana, there is a lack of official information about the extent of the problem.

For this project we used citizen scientists to help us analyse satellite imagery in order to detect and prevent illegal gold mining activities in the region.

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burn-scar mapping

Natural wild fires occur all over the world every year, and satellites can be used to automatically detect and monitor them, and the 'burn scars' they leave behind on the landscape. These in turn can be used to better predict future fires and understand how climate change is affecting the pattern of fires. But the resolution of the sensors used for this purpose can sometimes be quite coarse. Other higher resolution satellite data is therefore needed to check the reliability of the areas being detected by re-imaging some of the same areas, and processing this data through special software.

In this project, we focused on areas affected by the huge Canadian wildfires which raged in May and June 2016.

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