The Sky is the Limit? Drones in Biodiversity Conservation

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SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Conservation management requires large amounts of high-quality data on wildlife, habitats, land use and all other kinds of systems, movements and patterns. While on ground sampling remains crucial for data collection, aerial surveys facilitate a change in perspective. They allow for reliable and up-to-date data acquisition across highly variable ecosystems and large patches of land. In their recent paper, Pascal Fust and Jacqueline Loos (2020) give an overview on the potentials and pitfalls of employment of unmanned aerial systems, also known as drones, for biodiversity conservation.

Will drones play a larger role in the collection of data for conservation management in the future?  

The idea of collecting data from a bird’s eye view is not new to conservation: Remote sensing techniques have been applied for many decades. First, visual observations were carried out from airplanes. Later, satellites were used to capture images of habitats and landscapes. However, the capacity to…

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