Digital conservation in biosphere reserves: Earth observations, social media, and nature’s cultural contributions to people
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Crowdsourced photosCultural valuesEcosystem servicesMultimodel inferenceParticipatory sensingRemote sensingSierra Nevada
Vaz, A. S., Moreno‐Llorca, R. A., Gonçalves, J. F., Vicente, J. R., Méndez, P. F., Revilla, E., ... & Alcaraz‐Segura, D. Digital conservation in biosphere reserves: Earth observations, social media, and nature's cultural contributions to people. Conservation Letters, e12704.
SponsorshipEuropean Union’sHorizon 2020 research and innovation programme,Grant/Award Number: 641762; Program for Excellent Units of the Plan Propio de Investigación of the University of Granada; European Union; University of Granada, Spain; Portuguese Science Foundation, Grant/Award Numbers: DL57/2016/ICETA/EEC2018/13, CEECIND/02331/2017
In the “digital conservation” age, big data from Earth observations and from social media have been increasingly used to tackle conservation challenges. Here, we combined information from those two digital sources in a multimodel inference framework to identify, map, and predict the potential for nature’s cultural contributions to people in two contrasting UNESCO biosphere reserves: Doñana and Sierra Nevada (Spain). The content analysis of Flickr pictures revealed different cultural contributions, according to the natural and cultural values of the two reserves. Those contributions relied upon landscape variables computed from Earth observation data: the variety of colors and vegetation functioning that characterize Doñana landscapes, and the leisure facilities, accessibility features, and heterogeneous landscapes that shape Sierra Nevada. Our findings suggest that social media and Earth observations can aid in the cost-efficient monitoring of nature’s contributions to people, which underlie many Sustainable Development Goals and conservation targets in protected areas worldwide.