Rainforest Connection (RFCx) is a US-based non-profit that creates and implements eco-acoustic and conservation monitoring systems – currently, in over 22 countries. Primary activities include biodiversity monitoring, anti-logging, and anti- poaching . Founded by Topher White in 2011, and run with a worldwide research network, Rainforest Connection has reportedly collected over 47 million minutes of audio data from forested landscapes around the world.

RCFx App


Image of the RFCx app. Image source: Rainforest Connection [image]. Retrieved 28 March 2022, from https://rfcx.org/

The RFCx app enables users to listen to audio livestreams from a range of forest locations and to access recordings of particular species categorised by their level of endangerment (from 'critically endangered' to 'least concern'). The app also functions as a fundraising tool for RCFx projects.

Guardian Platform

The Guardian platform and devices were developed to detect the sounds of chainsaws and other threats to forest environments. The devices began as repurposed smartphones fitted with a microphone, battery packs, and solar panels to record and send data to a cloud system to be analysed by AI. If sounds of logging or poaching were identified, alerts were sent to rangers on the ground.

The technology has received popular media coverage since Topher White and colleagues launched it in 2013. Still, socio-political questions remain around the implementation of technological 'solutions' developed in the Global North for largely Global South forest contexts. At the same time, these devices have the potential to implement surveillance systems that can have multiple impacts on local communities.

smart forests radio