Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are transforming conservation efforts. Deforestation is one of the top causes of climate change, and the equivalent of 36 football fields of forest is lost every minute.
The causes of deforestation differ around the world. Most affected woods are used for timber, mineral extraction like coal and agricultural expansion. Deforestation contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, destroys fragile ecosystems and threatens wildlife.
The use of drone technology is still relatively new, but it is already transforming how data is collected in remote areas. The latest form of drone technology combines with a robotic device that replants seedlings in deforested areas, often flying at extremely low altitudes. Drones are saving our forests by providing information that was previously difficult to collect, including details on forest management, wildlife disturbance and illegal logging.
Conservation technology is the process of using innovative technology to protect and monitor ecosystems. Examples of this can include installing smart devices in wildlife habitats to study behavior patterns or collecting visual data on how industries dispose of their waste.
Drone technology is one of the most popular forms of conservation technology. Before drones, travel by foot and airplane were the only ways to document the effects of deforestation. However, many parts of the world are not accessible by foot and are too tricky to navigate by plane. Drones allow scientists to map remote areas at low flying levels, collecting more data than previously possible. For example, drone technology has been transformative at mapping wildfires.
Human disturbance causes deforestation. Trees provide basic necessities such as toilet paper and food in various industries. Billions of acres of forest are also lost due to mineral extraction from operations like coal mining or oil wells. In the past, companies were not held accountable for their impact simply because it was difficult to measure. With drone technology, conservationists can identify problem sources, transforming how sustainability standards are upheld.
Drone technology collects data on forest management, such as selective logging areas or locations used for pulp production. This data confirms that land is properly managed. Some of the best standards for industrial forest management come from the Forest Stewardship Council. These standards outline protections for wildlife, rights of local communities and pollution limitations.
In addition to upholding standards of practice, drone technology is also making it easier to monitor wildlife and protect it against land-use development. One of the most pertinent examples of this is monitoring orangutan habitats near oil palm plantations. Palm oil is one of the leading causes of deforestation today since it is now a main ingredient in many processed foods, cleaning products and cosmetics.
Using drone technology, environmentalists collected information on forests cleared for palm oil plantations and monitored orangutan nests to make sure they were not disturbed.
Technological Advancements Are Saving Our Trees
Without trees, humans would not exist. We need trees for clean air, clean water and healthy ecosystems. Wildlife also depends on trees. Deforestation is one of the worst environmental crises in the world and is a leading contributor to climate change. Unmanaged human activity and land-use development are wreaking havoc on vulnerable ecosystems and threatening wildlife.
Conservation technology implements advancements that protect ecosystems and share data that can lead to environmental initiatives. Drone technology is a leading type of conservation technology and transforms how scientists and conservationists work to protect wildlife and hold industries accountable for their actions.
Drones are saving our forests by helping humans reach previously inaccessible areas and collecting vital information on the health of forests and the creatures that live there. Drone technology plays a crucial role in protecting ecosystems threatened by improper forest management and illegal activities.