Written by: Smart Earth Network, Founder, Simon Hodgkinson
There are over 200,000 protected areas (PAs) in the world as of 2014, covering 30 million km-sq – that’s over 10% of our planet’s land and oceans. Protecting these PAs is fundamental to the preservation of our planet’s biodiversity and ecosystem.
Sadly, many of these parks are inadequately resourced and poorly managed and it often proves impossible to assess if the programmes are working. It is also difficult, given the scale of the parks and the limited ranger resources they have, for many parks to detect threats from poachers and loggers and to apprehend. It’s safe to say given the statistics we’re hearing that the PAs need help.
The traditional answer to these problems is to wait for more people, more funding, more equipment, improved skills. We need to be realistic how much of such scarce resources can or will be thrown at all the PAs on the planet and for this reason we turn to technology for the answer to help PAs do the job we need them to do.
There is much discussion about applications of the Internet of Things. Exhibitions, such as CES 2017, full of gadgets that no-one really needs or wants, sadly fails to show off the real value of interconnected devices. The IoT will serve a much higher purpose if it’s applied correctly: IoT sensors and network technologies have the power to help us save the planet.
Africa is an obvious focal point in demonstrating how the IoT can deliver immediate benefits in wildlife conservation and the Pendjari National Park in Benin is the location of an ideal case study. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
(IUCN) has been working with technologists and conservationists from UK charity Smart Earth Network and IoT consultancy Eridanis to develop an IoT-based ‘Digital Maturity Model’ for Protected Areas such as the Pendjari Park. This model is designed to enable PAs to assess themselves against an accepted structure and importantly, on the back of this, to establish the technology infrastructure requirement and via phased investments help them deploy it quickly and cost-effectively to achieve a full IoT capability on a shared platform.
How can the IoT make a difference?
Deploying these technologies in PAs has its problems. Most PAs have no connectivity, and the tendency is to undertake piecemeal investments in standalone technologies often with expensive satellite comms. The skills to govern and manage such investments are rarely there and the initiatives that are taken often fall into disrepair. The Smart Earth Network believes that for PAs to become effective they must achieve ‘digital maturity’ hence why we developed a Digital Maturity Framework. This Framework covers not only the technology but also the organisational steps necessary to create a sustainable capability which transforms the effectiveness of these vital Protected Areas in preserving our planet’s biodiversity.
Readers interested in understanding more can read the public report: ‘The Internet of Things for Protected Areas: The Application of Innovative Technologies to Improve Management Effectiveness, First report of IUCN Mission to Pendjari National Park’ Simon Hodgkinson and Daniel Young, IUCN, 2016.
The term 'Smart Earth Network' or 'us' or 'we' refers to the owner of the website whose registered office is Fife Moorings, Fife Terrace, London N1 9RA, UK. Our company registration number is 09650290 and place of registration is London. The term 'you' refers to the user or viewer of our website.
The content of the pages of this website is for your general information and use only. It is subject to change without notice.
Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials found or offered on this website for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements.
This website contains material which is owned by or licensed to us. This material includes, but is not limited to, the design, layout, look, appearance and graphics. Reproduction is prohibited other than in accordance with the copyright notice, which forms part of these terms and conditions.
All trade marks reproduced in this website which are not the property of, or licensed to, the operator are acknowledged on the website.
Unauthorised use of this website may give rise to a claim for damages and/or be a criminal offence.
From time to time this website may also include links to other websites. These links are provided for your convenience to provide further information. They do not signify that we endorse the website(s). We have no responsibility for the content of the linked website(s).
Your use of this website and any dispute arising out of such use of the website is subject to the laws of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Smart Earth Network is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.
Smart Earth Network may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from September 20th 2015.
Name and job title.
Contact information including email address.
Demographic information such as postcode, preferences and interests.
Information on skills and knowledge you are able to offer other members.
Other information relevant to customer surveys and/or offers.
We require this information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and in particular for the following reasons:
Internal record keeping.
We may use the information to improve our products and services.
We may periodically send promotional emails about new products, special offers or other information which we think you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided.
From time to time, we may also use your information to contact you for market research purposes. We may contact you by email, phone, fax or mail. We may use the information to customise the website according to your interests.
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.
A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.
We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about webpage traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.
Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.
You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.
Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.
You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:
Whenever you are asked to fill in a form on the website, look for the box that you can click to indicate that you do not want the information to be used by anybody for direct marketing purposes
If you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to or emailing us at email@example.com
We will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so. We may use your personal information to send you promotional information about third parties which we think you may find interesting if you tell us that you wish this to happen.You may request details of personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee will be payable. If you would like a copy of the information held on you please write to Smart Earth Network, Fife Moorings, Fife Terrace, London N19RA.
If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible at the above address. We will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Smart Earth Network and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.
Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of Smart Earth Network. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.
Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly. However, Smart Earth Network takes no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our control.
This website and its content is copyright of Smart Earth Network - © Smart Earth Network 2015. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited other than the following:
You may print or download extracts for your personal and non-commercial use only.
You may copy the content for individual third parties for their personal use, but only if you acknowledge the website as the source of the material.
You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.