ECCB2018 Workshop

Exploring the advances in using social media data for conservation science

Workshop at the 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology (ECCB), Jyväskylä, Finland

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

11am - 1pm

Room K309 “Gustaf”

Understanding complex human-environment interactions underpins successful conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. In addition to active data collection campaigns, a wealth of user-generated content available from different social media platforms can provide information useful for conservation. Location-based social media data may reveal interesting patterns of nature recreation, or areas where human activities and observations might be detrimental.

During this workshop, we will discuss about the use of social media data in conservation. We will focus on: 1) potential applications of social media data analysis in conservation science, and 2) current gaps and advancements in methodology, knowledge, or data. Please find the full workshop abstract at peerage-of-sciece here.

The workshop consisted of an introductory presentation by the organizers followed by group and plenary discussions covering:

  • What kind of information can and should be obtained from social media?
  • What is the state-of-the-art in advanced social media data analysis?
  • What is the potential of such approaches for real-world conservation challenges?

The workshop was organised by two interrelated research projects at the Digital Geography Lab, University of Helsinki: Social Media for Conservation Science (SOMECON) and Illegal Wildlife Trade on Social Media (IWT).

Thanks everyone who participated in the workshop!

Follow the discussion on twitter: #ECCB2018 @digigeolab

Workshop Summary

Introductory presentation

Group Discussion

The discussions in the workshop aimed at 1) brainstorming about research topics in conservation science where social media data has some potential and 2) sharing contextual and technical knowledge on using social media data among the participants.

We had 23 wonderful participants in the workshop, in addition to the Digital Geography Lab team. We organized a group discussion to brainstorm which (new) research topics could be addressed using social media data. See below what the four groups identified as interesting future research questions using social media.


Related publications

Tenkanen, H., Di Minin, E., Heikinheimo, V., Hausmann, A., Herbst, M., Kajala, L., & Toivonen, T. 2017. Instagram, Flickr, or Twitter: Assessing the usability of social media data for visitor monitoring in protected areas. Scientific reports. 7, 17615. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18007-4

Hausmann, A., Toivonen, T., Slotow, R., Tenkanen, H., Moilanen, A., Heikinheimo, V., Di Minin, E., 2017. Social Media Data can be used to Understand Tourists´ Preferences for Nature-based Experiences in Protected Areas. Conservation Letters. doi:10.1111/conl.12343

Heikinheimo, V., Di Minin, E., Tenkanen, H., Hausmann, A., Erkkonen, J., Toivonen, T., 2017. User-Generated Geographic Information for Visitor Monitoring in a National Park: A Comparison of Social Media Data and Visitor Survey. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. doi:10.3390/ijgi6030085

Di Minin, E., Fink, C., Tenkanen, H., & Hiippala, T. 2018. Machine learning for tracking illegal wildlife trade on social media. Nature ecology & evolution, 1.

Di Minin, E., Tenkanen, H., Toivonen, T., 2015. Prospects and challenges for social media data in conservation science. Frontiers in Environmental Science. 3. doi:10.3389/fenvs.2015.00063

Hausmann, A., Toivonen, T., Heikinheimo, V., Tenkanen, H., Slotow, R., Di Minin, E., 2017. Social media reveal that charismatic species are not the main attractor of ecotourists to sub-Saharan protected areas. Scientific Reports. 7, 763. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-00858-6