Kuala Lumpur — Conservationists and palm oil companies tackling deforestation and forest fires must rely less on satellite imagery and, instead, start listening to the sounds of the forests, according to a report published on Friday. The use of “bio-acoustics” to record, monitor and log background sounds — such as animals, insects and human activity — provides data needed for more effective conservation, researchers said in a paper published by the journal Science. “You can look at a primary forest, map the soundscapes to see what is normal, and then do the same at a logging concession, plantation or hunting area,” said co-author Rhett Butler. “With a camera trap, you’re at risk of a hunter or poacher coming in and destroying it. But audio equipment you can mount up to 30m up a tree and nobody will see them.” At the moment, most conservation efforts and studies rely on sample data from an area or satellite imagery that only shows forest cover, does not pick up selective logging, and...

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