Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are highly useful tools for forestry management. Ideal for all stages of forestry management - from analysis, planning, and implementation - drones provide a useful aerial view of large acreage to help improve forest management and reduce operational costs.
The high definition visible spectrum cameras available on most fixed wing and multi-rotor drones are ideal for delivering incredibly detailed photos and films. It doesn't stop there! Near-infrared cameras, or multi-spectral cameras, and gas detection sensors can also be loaded onto a drone. These give additional insight into tree health, making it easier to spot disease before it becomes visible to the human eye. Gas detection sensors are perfect for creating air analysis reports to help identify potential problems in the area affecting forest health.
The highly detailed images produced by cameras mounted on drones help forestry companies to determine growth rates, develop seeding and planting plans, and monitor future development. A great example of drones in forestry is the ground-breaking reforestation plan delivered by Bio-Carbon Engineering: drones have been used to map areas in need of reforestation, and a seeding plan mapped out. UAVs are then plotted on the seeding flight path, hovering 1-2m above the forest floor, and drop the required seeds in the designated area.
This example demonstrates the multi-tasking abilities of drones, and their usefulness in targeting hard-to-reach areas while cutting time and labour costs. A drone can cover far more ground in tricky areas, at a much faster speed. This means management plans can be carried out over a much shorter timescale, enabling resources to be diverted into other projects. Want to know more about the particular applications of drones in forestry? Keep reading!