To understand the health of a forest, conservation workers typically hit the ground and survey the land acre by acre. It can involve trudging through the woods with hiking boots or snowshoes, looking for gaps in the forest canopy that need restoring. But this summer, the Nature Conservancy’s Minnesota branch found an easier way to survey the large swaths of forest that comprise some of the over 60,000 acres it manages in the state.
The conservancy began using a drone to aid its reforestation efforts in northeast Minnesota. It has helped in several ways from making highly detailed maps to providing flyover video in key areas. “It’s almost like another staff member,” said Chris Dunham, the nonprofit’s forestry manager. “We’re a small, small forest team here and we can use every advantage we can get.”
The drone records latitude and longitude for each image it snaps, and for every 20 acres it would produce 400 or 500 pictures. The photos are then stitched together using an aptly named software, Drone2Map, which overlays the images onto their exact location on a map.
Images like this allow Nature Conservancy workers to see what types of trees are in an area and how dense the vegetation is. Before putting workers on the ground, the group can know how many trees it would want to replant and how much undesired brush would need clearing. “We’re going to put the drone to work for us,” Dunham said.
Read the full article at; https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/11/01/video-drones-help-restore-minnesotas-north-shore-forests
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