[Vienna, October 27, 2021] Huawei Austria, the University of Vienna, and the Neusiedler See – Seewinkel National Park have now launched their joint TECH4ALL project. In cooperation with the NGO Rainforest Connection (RFCx), smart technologies and artificial intelligence will be used for research on biodiversity in the reed belt of Lake Neusiedl and to derive suitable protection measures from the results. “We are a biodiversity hotspot in Austria and we rely on hands-on mentality,” DI Johannes Ehrenfeldner, Director of the National Park, explains. The project, which is planned to continue for two years, will bring numerous benefits to the westernmost steppe lake in Eurasia.
The protection of Austria’s enormous biodiversity
Lake Neusiedl is not only the largest lake in Austria, but is also home to a very special flora and fauna. As a result of this project, the balance between reed belt management and environmental protection, as well as the region’s ecosystem for humans and animals, can be improved. “With the help of the knowledge gained, we can derive measures in the fight against climate change.” Dr. Christian H. Schulze of the Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research at the University of Vienna adds, “Due to the changed hydrological dynamics of the lake, impacts are expected not only on the condition of the reed belt, but also on its biodiversity.”
The project will explore the short- and long-term effects of fluctuating water levels on breeding bird species, as well as the importance of the reed belt for wildlife throughout the year. Researchers are also looking at how different weather conditions affect bird song activity. “The consequences of climate change are obvious in the area around Lake Neusiedl,” says Astrid Eisenkopf, Deputy Governor of Burgenland. “From the joint TECH4ALL project, we hope to gain new insights into environmental protection and biodiversity. These will help us to keep the region in good condition for the population.”
For the project, more than 70 devices are placed in the reed belt to record the soundscape. Some of the devices store the recordings for subsequent analysis, while others named Nature Guardian connected directly to wireless network. Nature Guardian is an acoustic monitoring system which creates a whole new dimension to research by being able to collect acoustic data continuously at different locations regardless of the weather or time of day. The data of Nature Guardian is transmitted remotely and real-time through the wireless network of Magenta, Austria’s best network. This fast and minimally invasive approach not only saves a lot of researchers’ time, but also barely affects the animals’ habitat.</…….