On 5 June 2020, the World Environment Day, Professor Xiubo Yu's research team from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences held an online launch event for the iBirding platform. The platform is a set of cutting-edge bird identification and bird data collection system, which can help scientists to accumulate data and provide a recording platform for birdwatchers. As a special guest, Ms. Linxiu Zhang, Director of UNEP-IEMP, attended the iBirding platform launch event and delivered a speech.
At the launch event, Director Zhang congratulated the success of the iBirding platform and thanked the team for their invitation. Director Zhang pointed out in her speech that the launch of the iBirding platform is not only a good way to apply science in practice for bird and habitat protection, but also provides a new way for people to participate in bird protection activities, making a beneficial attempt and active contribution to the protection of birds and wetlands. Meanwhile, the theme of the iBirding platform is consistent with the theme of the United Nations World Environment Day 2020 "Biodiversity". It also echoes well with the UNEP declaration: "Time for Nature". Director Zhang pointed out that UNEP-IEMP, as an organization jointly sponsored by UNEP and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has always focused on issues related to climate change, ecosystem, and human livelihood. UNEP-IEMP dedicated itself to providing partnership platform support for individuals and institutions committed to ecosystem management in various countries.
Researcher Yu Xiubo is one of the Co-Directors of UNEP-IEMP. The successful launch of the iBirding platform led by him is also an achievement of UNEP-IEMP. At present, many assessment reports have showed that without cooperation and innovation, the realization of global Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) are related to the ecological environment will face great challenges. It is hoped that the achievements of the iBirding project will not only provide convenient services for bird watching enthusiasts, but also provide support for more groups to participate in ecological protection. UNEP-IEMP will also start a project that is related to water bird and habitat protection this year. We are looking forward to further cooperation with the iBirding team to explore more innovative ecological protection measures.
The series of achievements of the iBirding platform is a set of cutting-edge bird recognition and bird data collection and accumulation system. The platform includes four parts: an App, a bird recognition mini-program, a database website, and a bird migration route visualization system. At least 196 species of waterfowl, more than 260000 bird watching records, and more than 880000 photos have been used for bird recognition data training. Based on the platform, the project team found 128 important waterfowl habitats in 11 coastal provinces of China and tracked and evaluated the changing trend of 61 waterfowl habitats.
The above achievements will not only provide data for the scientific research and conservation management of wetland and waterfowl in China, but also promote the concept of "love bird-watching, love nature, love science" by using new technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence, promote knowledge sharing and public participation, stimulate the public to actively participate in natural environment protection, and set an excellent example for bird and wetland protection work.
The successful launch of the iBirding platform has attracted wide attention and discussions. More than 20 media agents reported about the launch event, including CCTV, Xinhua news agency and China Science Daily, etc.
UNEP-IEMP Director Linxiu Zhang at the iBirding launch event