How Can Australia Use Big Data to Protect Nature?

How Can Australia Use Big Data to Protect Nature?

The use of big data can be part of the solution to achieve a sustainable environment while preventing the degradation of nature, according to a new study published Friday. 

Big data, used by governments to stem the novel COVID-19 outbreak, can be implemented to defending the environment, said the article published by Nature Communications journal and reported on phys.org.

“There may be opportunities to learn from this and achieve a similarly tight coupling of analysis and decision-making in the environmental sector,” said lead author Rebecca Runting from Melbourne University.

Highlighting big data analyses “must be” closely linked to management and policy of the environment, Runting said there are already many big companies that have the methodological and technical capacity to create solutions.

“What the big data revolution has helped us understand is the environment is often doing worse than what we thought it was,” said James Watson, the co-author from the University of Queensland. “Big data tells us we are running out of time.”

He went on to say that big data is capable of identifying eco-health risks, with platforms like Google Earth or the capacity of satellites to track information.

“The good news is the big data revolution can help us better understand risk. For example, we can use data to better understand where future ecosystem degradation will take place and where these interact with wildlife trade, so as to map pandemic risk,” he added.

Giving an example, he evoked that global forest watch is a game-changer since it monitoring the state of the world forests in near real-time which makes it possible to watch illegal activities such as deforestation anywhere around the world.

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