This Nature Reserve Is The First Smart Park In Europe

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Europe’s first smart park in The Nethlerlands. Image credit:
Ruud Maaskant

The Dutch National Park Zuid-Kennemerland, which is one of The Netherland’s busiest recreation areas, has become the first nature reserve in Europe that is also a smart park.

Built by Smart Parks and a collaboration between PWN, and Utrecht University (Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development), administrators of the park can now use smart sensor technology to gather information about the behavior of large ‘grazers’, like European bison, in the park and contribute to a sustainable balance between nature, grazer, and recreation in the park.

The park has a dune area which is frequented by ‘grazers’ including European bison, highland cattle and fallow deer. The grazers prevent the dunes from becoming dense and leave room for vulnerable species such as the dune pansy and the dune pearl fern.

An essential part of transforming the preserve into a smart park is to see how the free flow of the animals works alongside the visiting public.

Installing technology in the nature preserve in The Netherlands. Image credit:
Ruud Maaskant.

The network created by Smart Parks uses sensors and not GPS collars which are cost-effective, more energy efficient allows animals to be monitored over longer periods of time.

In the future, park administrators want to look at the possibility that visitors to the park could receive a signal on their phone if bison are in the vicinity of a bicycle path or walking path which can prevent unwanted, unexpected encounters and thus conflicts between humans and animals.

“By having a trial location in the Netherlands, the technology can develop even better, and ultimately also contribute to wildlife protection in Africa,” said Myrthe Fonck, PWN nature consultant. “That sounds far away, but that is a realistic result, and I am very proud of that.”

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