Over the past few years, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), often referred to as drones, have increased significantly in popularity within a variety of sectors. Whether you are working as surveying engineer, farmer, or why not an urban planner, drones have provided brand new ways to perform your work, facilitating the daily lives of people and businesses all over the world.
One of the domains in which the use of drones is expanding substantially is the forestry sector. In this blog post, we describe 5 important application areas where drones serve as a useful, even revolutionary, tool for the forest industry.
1. Improve forest management planningA forest management plan specifies the objectives that a landowner has for his or her land, followed by a series of actions that should be taken in order to for those objectives to be met. In addition, these plans also contain information about factors such as acreage, boundaries, forest stands, wood species, and biological inventory. UAV technology is very useful as a tool in the production of these plans. The forest planner saves a lot of time and also, the quality of the plans can be substantially increased.
2. Document actionsAs mentioned in the previous section, drone technology can be of great help when it comes to documenting actions, both those that have already been taken, but also those that the forest planner recommends should take place. For example, the data captured by the drone can provide information about the potential need for cleaning or thinning; It can map windfalls after a storm, reducing the costs for recovering the fallen timber. It can also document driving damages after and corrective actions can be taken.
3. Detect and manage pests and diseasesPests and diseases can be a big danger to the survival of forests. The good news is that by using drone technology, it is possible to detect outbreaks in an early stage, so that corrective actions can be taken immediately. Also, with this knowledge at hand, the landowners can take preventive actions in order to protect their forests against future infestations. In these situations, it is advantageous to equip your drone with a multispectral camera, which we talk more about in this blog post about precision agriculture utilizing UAVs.
4. Manage and prevent forest firesAnother important drone application area in forestry, where drones can even save human lives, is handling forest fires. The drones can for example help the firemen to keep track of fire fronts and identify the location and intensity of hotspots, helping the decision makers direct the firefighting activities. After the fire, using drones is a very efficient way to find hotspots that might cause the wildfire to rekindle. You can read more about forest fire control using drones in one of our previous blog posts.
5. Manage large scale forest plantationsFinally, drone technology has become an increasingly popular tool when it comes to assessing and managing forest plantations. The drones can provide the owner with information about vital factors such as volume, tree height, as well as the overall condition of the plantation.
Opening up for new possibilities for the futureUsing drones in forestry applications undoubtedly implies a number of advantages, such as time and cost savings as well as increased operational efficiency. Although the use of drones in forestry may still be in an early stage, the technology definitely has great potential in the near future.