Using Remote Sensing Imagery and Machine Learning to Predict Poaching in Wildlife Conservation Parks

Authors

  • Rachel Guo Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Keywords:

Satellite Imagery, Machine Learning, Feature Engineering, Computational Sustainability, AI Conservation, Geospatial Features

Abstract

Illegal wildlife poaching is driving the loss of biodiversity. To combat poaching, rangers patrol expansive protected areas for illegal poaching activity. However, rangers often cannot comprehensively search such large parks. Thus, the Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS) uses machine learning to help identify the areas with highest poaching risk. As PAWS is deployed to parks around the world, we recognized that many parks have limited resources for data collection and therefore have scarce feature sets. To ensure under-resourced parks have access to meaningful poaching predictions, we introduce the use of publicly available remote sensing data to extract features for parks. By employing this data from Google Earth Engine, we also incorporate previously unavailable dynamic data such as climate and primary production patterns to enrich predictions with seasonal trends. We automate the entire data-to-deployment pipeline and find that, with only using publicly available data, we recuperate prediction performance comparable to predictions made using features manually computed by park specialists. We conclude that the inclusion of satellite imagery creates for a robust system through which parks of any resource level can benefit from poaching risks for years to come.

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Published

2021-05-18

How to Cite

Guo, R. . (2021). Using Remote Sensing Imagery and Machine Learning to Predict Poaching in Wildlife Conservation Parks. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 35(18), 15962-15963. Retrieved from https://ojs.aaai.org/index.php/AAAI/article/view/17977

Issue

Section

AAAI Undergraduate Consortium