This Dubai community just took citizen science up a notch
The UAE's Sustainable City has launched an initiative to measure biodiversity impact - with the help of its residents
Residents of The Sustainable City in Dubai can now contribute to the environment-friendly goals of their community, thanks to a new community-wide biodiversity assessment programme.
Developers of the 'city' have tied up with Emirates Nature-WWF to install advanced monitoring equipment throughout the community, including ultrasound recorders for bats and audio recorders for birds.
The idea is to measure the diversity of local species, as well as the impact of urban ecology on the ecosystem's overall health.
Residents are being asked to use two cloud-based platforms - namely, iNaturalist and eBird - to upload images of different species of birds and plants sighted in the neighbourhood. The sightings are then classified and verified by Emirates Nature-WWF, as well as a global community of naturalists.
Findings will be published by research and education hub SEE Institute, that scientists are hoping will help support the design of future communities in the region.
"We endeavour to provide living spaces where we can coexist along with nature, while providing nature with a better chance to flourish and thrive," said Faris Saeed, CEO of Diamond Developers, noting that they have also channelled their efforts into reducing carbon emissions in the community.
"Research has always been a key part of what we do," he continued. "That is why we are constantly collecting and analysing data, and testing new technologies. This initiative aims to provide a deeper understanding of local species and the positive impact they have on the environment."