As natural resource extraction and urbanization accelerate, it is increasingly necessary to quantify short-term and cumulative impacts on natural habitats and processes. This means potential environmental impacts must be monitored in advance of a project to evaluate baseline conditions, anticipate impacts, and establish a mitigation plan if necessary. Additionally, environments must be monitored during pre-planning, development, and all operational phases of a proposed activity or disturbance to evaluate the effectiveness of any implemented mitigation measures. Conducting impact assessments on a large scale using interactive survey methods can be costly.
No matter how unintrusive, surveyors may inadvertently influence the environment which they are studying. Human presence may cause animals to retreat or alter their communication networks and trapping methods may be detectable by target species, influencing survey findings.
Manual data collection relies heavily on the skill and experience level of the observer. In other words, data is limited by what an individual can observe – lacking true objectivity and increasing risk for errors in data.
Individual species may be difficult to detect, and certain habitats may be challenging to access with interactive research techniques, limiting the quantity and range of data observations.
Acoustics recorders can be scheduled to run for extended periods of time – providing permanent records of animal vocalizations. These records can be objectively analyzed and referenced as necessary to study the impact of an event over time.
Without human presence, it’s possible to record real environmental conditions with minimal disturbance. This is especially helpful for impact assessments because the goal is quantifying changes in animal activity due to specific environmental or anthropogenic factors. Eliminating the human disturbance bias improves confidence and accuracy.
Using acoustics recorders to gather data is more cost effective than deploying biologists to project sites, especially during multi-day events.
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