Photography and biodiversity awareness: The use of images in conservation

Santiago Carreira


Since its inception, photography has played an important role as a documentary tool. It has been used to communicate and disseminate biodiversity research and conservation projects in different parts of the world. Today, the extraordinary technological development and popularity of photography has allowed it to be used to collect data for different types of scientific projects and to facilitate a much more fluid exchange of information between the scientific community and the public, for example in citizen science programmes. However, a paradigm shift is now being proposed for photography to move beyond its purely artistic sense to reveal its informative and knowledge-generating potential in the field of conservation.


photography; conservation; history; research; science

Full Text: PDF



Burton, A. C., Neilson, E., Moreira, D., Ladle, A., Steenweg, R., Fisher, J. T., Bayne, E., & Boutin, S. (2015). Wildlife camera trapping: A review and recommendations for linking surveys to ecological processes. Journal of Applied Ecology, 52(3), 675–685.

Collin A., Ramambason, C., Pastol, Y., Casella, E., Rovere, A., Thiault, L., Espiau, B., Siu, G., Lerouvreur F., Nakamura, N., Hench, J. L., Schmitt, R. J., Holbrook, S. J., Troyer, M., & Davies, N. (2018). Very high resolution mapping of coral reef state using airborne bathymetric LiDAR surface-intensity and drone imagery. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 39(17), 5676–5688.

Espejo, B. (2015, 11 December). Joan Fontcuberta: «Antes la fotografía era escritura. Hoy es lenguaje». El Español.

Fossey, D. (1985). Gorilas en la niebla. Salvat editores.

Groom, M. J., Meffe, G. K., & Carroll, C. R. (2006). Principles of conservation biology. Sinauer associates.

Hodgson, J. C., Mott, R., Baylis, S. M., Pham, T. T., Wotherspoon, S., Kilpatrick, A. D., Segaran, R. R., Reid, I., Terauds, A., & Koh, L. P. (2018). Drones count wildlife more accurately and precisely than humans. Me­thods in Ecology and Evolution9(5), 1160–1167.

Ivosevic, B., Han, Y. G., Cho, Y., & Kwon, O. (2015). The use of conservation drones in ecology and wildlife research. Journal of Ecology and Environment, 38(1), 113–118.

Lambertucci, S. A., Margalida, A., Speziale, K. L., Amar, A., Ballejo, F., Bildstein, K. L., Blanco, G., Botha, A. J., Bowden, C. G. R., Cortés-Avizanda, A., Duriez, O., Green, R. E., Hiraldo, F., Ogada, D., Plaza, P., Sánchez-Zapata, J. A., Santangeli, A., Selva, N., Spiegel, O., & Donázar, J. A. (2021). Presumed killers? Vultures, stakeholders, misperceptions, and fake news. Conservation Science and Practice, 3, e415.

Mangewa, L. J., Ndakidemi, P. A., & Munishi, L. K. (2019). Integrating UAV technology in an ecological monitoring system for community wildlife management areas in Tanzania. Sustainability, 11(21), 6116.

Norouzzadeh, M. S., Nguyen, A., Kosmala, M., Swanson, A., Palmer, M. S., Packer, C., & Clune, J. (2018). Automatically identifying, counting, and describing wild animals in camera-trap images with deep learning. PNAS, 115(25), e5716–e5725.

Paneque-Gálvez, J., McCall, M. K., Napoletano, B. M., Wich, S. A., & Koh, L. P. (2014). Small drones for community-based forest monitoring: An assessment of their feasibility and potential in Tropical areas. Forests, 5(6), 1481–1507.

Rovero, F., & Marshall, A. R. (2009). Camera trapping photographic rate as an index of density in forest ungulates. Journal of Applied Ecology, 46(5), 1011–1017.

Rowcliffe, J. M., Kays, R., Kranstauber B., Carbone, C., & Jansen, P. A. (2014). Quantifying levels of animal activity using camera trap data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 5(11), 1170–1179.

Sontag, S. (1977/2005). Sobre la fotografía. Alfaguara.

Tabak, M. A., Norouzzadeh, M. S., Wolfson, D. W., Sweeney, S. J., VerCauteren, K.C., Snow, N. P., Halseth, J., Salvo, P., Lewis, J., White, M., Teton, B., Boughton, R., Wight, B., Newkirk, E., Odell, E., Brook, R., Moeller, A., Mandeville, E., Clune, J., Miller, R., & Schlichting, P. (2019). Machine learning to classify animal species in camera trap images: Applications in ecology. Methods in Ecology and Evolution10(4), 585–590.

Wang, S. W., & Macdonald, D. W. (2009). The use of camera traps for estimating tiger and leopard populations in the high altitude mountains of Bhutan. Biological Conservation, 142(3), 606–613.


  • There are currently no refbacks.