Artificial Intelligence Identifies Jungle Sounds

Artificial Intelligence Identifies Jungle Sounds

The automatic analysis of the soundscape correctly determined which birds are present in the different development stages of the forest.

When it comes to understanding the health and wellbeing of a rainforest, modern technology has given us a novel approach – letting artificial intelligence (AI) listen to the sounds within the forest.

This method of automatic analysis of the soundscape has proven to be a reliable tool for measuring how tropical forests in Ecuador are naturally regenerating after agricultural use of the land has ceased.

This was made possible by an AI that has been trained to recognize the sounds of the local bird species. Although it was only able to classify around a quarter of the species identified by bird experts, it was able to accurately determine the developmental stages of the species composition.

The regeneration process started from pasture land or cocoa plantations and evolved into forests of different ages that grew in their place, eventually leading to the re-emergence of old primeval forests.

The results derived from the AI’s assessment were consistent with what experts concluded by listening to the sounds of birds, amphibians, and mammals. The same outcome was also achieved by analyzing the nocturnal insect species.

Given these encouraging results, German, Ecuadorian, and American researchers involved in the study recommend using listening AI to monitor the regeneration of tropical forests globally, as outlined in their report published in the journal Nature Communications.

This approach provides a cost-effective way to ensure that we are creating not only carbon sinks but also biodiversity oases.

This study was originally published in Science in Nature in January 2024.