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  • Edición impresa de Agosto 18, 2015

How are environmentalists putting drones to use to help further their causes?

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Conservationists are utilizing droneor“unmanned aerial systems” (UAS) technology to gather highly detailed imagery and other environmental data that is traditionally challenging to obtain.John Takekawa and his team at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center (WERC), for example, are using drones to obtain aerial images of San Francisco Bay marshlands.

“It’s very hard to get some of the data sets in some of these areas that are remote or hard to reach in the marshes,” Takekawa explains. “If you have something that can fly over and get sensors that can report back to your computer, that’s what we’re looking for in exploring these types of technologies.”

Dr. Amy Woodget, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Worcester in the UK, uses her small Draganflyer X6 UAS to collect high-resolution imagery of river channels. The images map the physical conditions within the rivers, including the channel topography, water depth and surface flow patterns, data all crucial for gauging river health and habitat conditions essential to the survival of local wildlife.

Drones are also helping preserve the Peruvian Amazon forest, where illegal gold mining and logging has cleared mahogany, Spanish cedar and other old-growth trees. Carlos Castaneda, coordinator of the Amazon Basin Conservation Association’s Los Amigos Conservation Concession, monitors the 550-square-mile Los Amigos reserve in southeastern Peru, home to a large diversity of plant and animal species, including palm swamps, bamboo thickets, giant otters, harpy eagles, spider monkeys and jaguars. Small drones weighing less than five pounds enable detection of any deforestation within the area.

 

 


 

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