Drones: A Modern Invention with Ecological Applications

Drones: A Modern Invention with Ecological Applications

Today’s blog post is brought to you by Jannatul Ferdous. 

We are living in a world with many concerning environmental issues. Every day, we consciously or unconsciously contribute to the destruction of nature as we use disposal products and shop at stores that contributed to the destruction of wildlife habitat. In recent years, several technologies have emerged as a powerful means for nature conservation. The development and application of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles is a powerful tool that scientists can use to monitor a number of ecological conditions. Around 2010, people started using drones, though in a limited capacity. Recently, the price of the cameras and sensors used on many drones have dropped drastically. Since then, scientists have begun using UAVs to observe the Earth and many aspects of ecology from the sky.

Drones are now being applied to research questions related to watershed science, soil erosion, sedimentation loading, aquatic ecology, wildlife habitat monitoring, spatial analysis of soil contamination, and pollution ecology. Drones and UAVs provide quick and detailed information about the environmental context that can then be used to support and interpret other data sources. Policy-makers frequently want to construct policies that conserve certain plants, animals, or habitat types. Images captured by drones can help inform present conditions of biodiversity in impacted areas and help researchers look at these plants, animals, and habitats in a different way than more traditional data sources. 

Drones use GPS information and mapping systems and help collect images of an area. Using a mapping system and images captured with drones, researchers can learn more about trees coverage, topography, and waterways. UAVs are becoming a popular research application because they are more cost-efficient and operate more quickly compared to traditional techniques. Hence, drones and UAV-based ecological studies can provide large scale habitat attributes that can help scientists make better informed interpretations and decisions.