Drones Will Be Used To Monitor The Amazon Rainforest’s Condition

Sundar Pichai - Oct 06, 2019


Drones Will Be Used To Monitor The Amazon Rainforest’s Condition

Researchers at Harvard have been working on a new project that uses drones to study the health of Amazon rainforest.

Today, the application areas of drones are wide-ranging than ever before. The technology appears to have invaluable contribution to the betterment of mankind. Recently, researchers from Harvard University has kicked off the latest exploitation of drones in an attempt to explore the Amazon rainforest. 

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Researchers at Harvard University are trying to acknowledge the Amazon rainforest

The drone-based sensors are expected to support researchers in differentiating between the unique 'fingerprints' of different rainforest ecosystems. While fingerprint takes on an inevitable role to decipher the forest’s adjustments against various unexpected circumstances including deforestation, fire, and climate change, it wasn’t highly regarded up until now. Previously, scientists only used a handful of towers located in a particular ecosystem to monitor the Amazon’s unique VOCs.

Conservation Volunteering Peruvian Amazon Crees Fo
Each forest ecosystem obtains a unique chemical fingerprint (or VOC signature)

The volatile organic compound (VOC) in the atmosphere of forests, also known as fingerprint, is unique among different plants and varies based on external factors like flood. Researchers believe that the measurement of such signatures will decode the reaction of forest ecosystems to stressors. That facilitates the better results of representing VOC emissions in model simulations of air quality or climate. 

Harvard University’s research of VOC signature

Drone Over The Canopy 1 1

Researchers at Harvard University have coordinated with some other institutions to develop a VOCs mapping system powered by drones back in 2017. They did achieve significant milestones as successfully publicizing their research on PNAS, the world’s most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serial which ascertained the importance of VOCs in understanding forest ecosystems. 

Within the next steps, they’ll continue to execute additional experiments including those with three-drone fleet, utilizing boat as the launch pad. The team said this research highlighted “how little we understood forest heterogeneity.”

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The team will continue to execute additional experiments on drones

The development of drone technology would stimulate more scientific researches in the near future. For instance, Boeing is managing to create solar-powered drones assembling climate data and doing atmospheric research. And already, drones with the ability to inspect crops and farms have been put into practice. 

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