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Landscape-Scale Wireless Technology for Vertebrate Pest Control

  • Author(s): Croft, Simon
  • Leckie, Campbell
  • Warburton, Bruce
  • et al.
Abstract

A unique wireless communications and sensor network has been developed by Encounter Solutions Ltd, New Zealand, with a specific aim of fundamentally changing the way pest control operations can be carried out. This wireless technology has the potential to open up new, safer, and more efficient and cost-effective ways of monitoring and servicing control devices. The network is designed for deployment over large areas and can operate where there is no cell phone coverage by making efficient use of satellite technology. It requires very little power to run, and complex high-power radio equipment is not needed. This makes it readily portable, with each sensor node able to operate on small inexpensive batteries for several years. With the help of Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Auckland Council, the system is presently undergoing trials at a number of New Zealand sites with promising results. Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd has been engaged to evaluate the performance, the effect on contractor behaviour, and to undertake economic analyses of the potential benefits of large-scale roll out of such wireless technology. The first large-scale installation of wireless technology is planned for the 26,000-hectare multi-agency Cape-to-City project. This multi-species predator control project is considered a world-leading programme that will focus on ultra-low-cost, large-scale predator control across productive landscapes. The project aims to restore native biodiversity, whilst at the same time delivering economic benefits to farmers through reduced risk to livestock diseases. If successful, it is anticipated that the Cape-to-City model will be expanded across hundreds of thousands of hectares of the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand, with the wireless network being integral to this expansion.

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