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**Utilizing Artificial Intelligence, Minnesota Cluster Aids Monarch Butterflies**

A Minnesota-based conservation group is using drones and artificial intelligence to map food resour…

Monarch Joint Venture, headquartered in St. Paul, employs an advanced method to assess the quantity and significance of pollen-producing plants in the vicinity more efficiently and accurately.

Photographs captured by automated robots utilizing an AI system named POLLi can now quantify the floral presence crucial to sustaining monarch butterflies. This technology, commonly utilized in agriculture for disease detection and crop evaluation, is now being adapted for wildlife and habitat conservation.

Wendy Caldwell, the executive director of Monarch Joint Venture, stated, “We are essentially applying the same precision agriculture techniques to wildlife and habitat monitoring, a novel approach with broad applicability and commercial potential.”

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pink flowers and green leaves

notable for its monarch-friendly plant species, located in Marshall County, Minnesota.

Dan Gunderson | 2021 MPR News

Following successful trials in Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, the organization is now offering this AI technology to other entities for wildlife monitoring purposes.

Caldwell envisions leveraging AI for detecting invasive species threatening biodiversity, while future iterations will focus on quantifying additional pollinator-attracting flowering plants.

Caldwell emphasized, “The objective is for these data points collected at either a corporate or a specific land parcel level to contribute to a comprehensive assessment of national pollinator habitats.”

Such data can empower land managers to make informed decisions concerning wildlife conservation and habitat restoration.

a person controlling a drone

Utilizing drone-captured images, the AI system can accurately identify pollinator-friendly plant species within natural habitats.

Monarch Courtesy Joint Venture

Boasting over 90% accuracy, the AI program paired with drone technology can swiftly survey vast terrains, surpassing the consistency of manual surveys conducted by individuals. Caldwell remarked, “The level of precision achieved is truly remarkable.”

While the Monarch Joint Venture plans to prioritize habitat enhancement and connectivity efforts in the coming year, the current focus has predominantly been on private conservation lands.

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Last modified: February 28, 2024
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