Rapid decline of global biodiversity and the teetering of species on the brink of extinction are apparent these days and the advances in technologies are becoming more prevalent in confronting these challenges. Digital technology should be considered as a benign tool in nature conservation. As it is a dynamic progress that transforms conservation scientists, protected area managers and conservation organisations works, motivated partially by peer pressure and the inherent possibilities and problems that digital technology brings.
Unlike previous technological revolutions, information is now the central component in which technologies revolve, resulting to a new mode of business, communication and governance in many societal domains, including the environmental. Digital revolution is directly relevant to the social practices and organisations concerned with the conservation of nature that refers to a plethora of ideas, practices and values. Its application has gained importance and influence in nature conservation both in number and diversity, progressively shaping conservation discourses and practices. Thus, conservationists are often optimistic towards the technologies of information age for more data, faster processing, better information access and connectivity, new communication routes, exciting visual representations and empowering decision-making support systems.
The term ‘digital conservation’ is used as shorthand for the broad range of developments at the interface of digital technology and nature conservation. The impact and significance of digital technology are considered as a collection of processes and materials related to the innovation, development, implementation and diffusion of digital technology. They are implemented in various ways, from multi-sensor equipped smart phones carried by humans and satellite tags carried by animals, to camera traps, drones, and space satellites. It has enabled more frequent monitoring of the natural environment, on a larger spatial scale, at a finer resolution in inaccessible or dangerous locations, has resulted in (near) real-time sensing and allows automated data capture that can bring clear benefits to conservation science and management.
Due to these scenarios a seminar was organized to enlighten participants on the usage of digital technology enhancing the management and monitoring of natural resources with the following objectives:
- Creating awareness among participants on existing and future digital technologies in assisting conservations;
- Highlighting the pros and cons of utilising digital technologies;
- To publicise existing examples from Sabah on usage of digital technologies;
- To provide a platform/ place for exchange of ideas amongst researchers and practitioners in the field of biodiversity and environmental conservation management in Sabah.
- To gather information related to the application of digital technology in research projects and biodiversity activities conducted by the presenting companies in various protected areas and conservation areas in Sabah.
- To build network and promote cooperation amongst practitioners and researchers in management of biodiversity and natural resources in Sabah.
- To share and discuss the latest efficient techniques, technology and approaches and in assessing, managing and evaluating the biodiversity and actual environment for the purpose of improving the current biodiversity and natural resources management.
The Seminar was held on the 24th April 2018 at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu. The one-day seminar was jointly-organized by the Institute for Development Studies Sabah (IDS), Kondrad Adeneur Stiftung (KAS MALAYSIA) and Sabah Environmental Trust (SET). The seminar was attended by an overwhelming number of 217 participants comprising of policy makers, academicians, educationists and officials from relevant local government department and agencies.
The seminar was officiated by YBhg. Datuk Seri Panglima Clarence B. Malakun, Chairman of Institute for Development Studies (Sabah).