Nature 4.0 Nature observation with networked sensor technology and artificial intelligence

"Insect armageddon", "bee mortality", "forest dieback" - the three examples of recent years are representative of the increasing threat to biodiversity, natural and cultural landscapes and the associated ecosystem services for us humans.  Despite great efforts, the effects of the measures taken to date are still not as successful as they should be. To reverse the trend, landscapes must be understood as systems and their reaction to changing environmental conditions must be recorded. The basis for this is permanent monitoring, which provides reliable information on biodiversity, ecosystem services and environmental conditions simultaneously and across the area. Expert recordings alone cannot achieve this. This is where Nature 4.0 comes in with networked sensors and artificial intelligence. The interdisciplinary project combines observations by experts with networked remote sensing and environmental sensors attached to remote-controlled aircraft, moving robots, trees and animals, as well as being used in environmental education projects. Microphone recordings, for example, provide the basis for the automatic recognition of bird or bat species. Combined with camera recordings and new types of radar sensors, it is possible to simultaneously classify the breeding and feeding resources of these animals, such as hollow trees or insects. Artificial intelligence is used to create small-scale differentiating maps of species diversity, ecosystem services and ecosystem functions from the data and relate them to environmental conditions. Thus, changing food resources or a changing microclimate can be related to changes in ecosystem services. 

LOEWE Research Cluster


  • Philipps-University of Marburg (lead management)
  • Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Darmstadt University of Technology
  • Senckenberg Society for Natural Research

Fields of study

  • Geography
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics

Funding period

since 2019

Project Coordinator

  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Nauss
  • Prof. Dr. Jörg Bendix


  • Darmstadt
  • Frankfurt am Main
  • Gießen
  • Marburg

More Information