How Conservation Drones Are Being Used to Map the Health of Forests

Trees play a vital role in the health of the planet, soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, adding oxygen to the air and creating a beautiful environment for nature lovers, homeowners and others. Unfortunately, the health of these life-giving forests is threatened in many parts of the world, as the dangers of deforestation, disease and uncontrolled fires takes hold.

Now forest managers and local governments are fighting back, taking to the air to protect the health of the forest and spot dangers that might otherwise go unnoticed. Here are some of the ways conservation drones are making forest management easier and more effective.

Identifying Emerging Health Threats

From established issues like Dutch Elm Disease to new dangers like the emerald ash borer beetle, modern forests face greater threats than ever before. Fortunately, forest managers have many more tools at their disposal, including aerial surveillance drones.

These conservation drones fly high over the treetops, looking for early signs of illness among the trees and seeking out emerging threats that could endanger their future. From state governments to private industry, these drones are being used to monitor the health of forests and prevent the spread of both new and established diseases.

Rooting Out Illegal Activity

Forests are often hotbeds of illegal activity, from unauthorized logging to huge pot growing operations. This type of nefarious activity can be tough to find on the ground, but from the air the evidence is all too clear.

Many police departments are already using surveillance drones to root out illegal activity and bring the perpetrators to justice, and state governments are getting involved as well. The detection of illegal logging and other forest damaging activities is one of the most powerful uses for this type of technology.

Establishing Controlled Burn Zones

Without the use of controlled burns, dry brush can accumulate to dangerous levels. Once that happens, all it takes is a single spark from a neglected campfire or a lightning strike to set the entire forest ablaze.

Controlled burns are a recognized tool of forest management, but knowing where to set those deliberate fires can be difficult. Forest managers cannot risk setting fires in populated areas, and they do not want their prescribed burns to get out of control.

Through the use of conservation drones, forest managers can identify the best places for controlled burns and other vital maintenance, reducing the risk of a conflagration and protecting homes and property in the process.

Protecting the health of forests is everyone’s responsibility, and everyone should take an interest in the trees. You do not have to be an environmental activist to appreciate the beauty of the forest, and you do not have to be a conservationist to appreciate the ways in which drones are improving the health of forest and the lives of the people who live there.

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