HP teams up with environmentalists to create extinction early warning system

HP today announced a collaboration with Conservation International (CI), a leading non-governmental organisation dedicated to protecting nature. The partnership is designed to improve the accuracy and speed of data analysis in environmental science.

The initiative, called HP Earth Insights, delivers near-real time analytics and is already providing new insights. Worryingly, the research seems to be suggesting that there has been a decline in a significant percentage of species monitored.

Of the 275 species being monitored, 60 of them (22 per cent) are either significantly decreasing in population or likely decreasing compared to baseline levels. A further 12 per cent — 33 indivudual species - have significantly decreased in numbers. Among these are: the sun bear (pictured) and the wild boar found in Malaysia, the agile mangabey found in the Republic of Congo, and the greater grison found in Ecuador.

According to HP and CI, the Earth Insights project is designed to serve as an "early warning system" for conservation efforts, "enabling proactive responses to environmental threats."

The research is being conducted across 16 tropical forests around the world, as part of the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) network.

Tropical forests are home to over 30 million species, which together equal half of all the plants and animals on earth. Perhaps more importantly, they also generate over 40 per cent of the earth's oxygen.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme , tropical forests are vanishing at a rate of about 18,000 square miles (4.6 million hectares) per year.

Data and analysis from Earth Insights will be shared with the managers of protected environments to develop policies around hunting and commercial deforestation, among other things.

"HP Earth Insights is transforming environmental science. Until now, the right data, the technology and scale have been noticeably missing from our field," said Peter Seligmann, chairman and CEO of Conservation International. "What once took a team of scientists weeks, months or more to analyse can now be done by a single person in hours."

The partnership was announced during HP's Discover event in Barcelona. Follow our live coverage of the event for more updates.

Image: Flickr (contemplicity)