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52 employees of Primorsky forestry units attended drone pilot training

23 december 2019
WWF Russia in collaboration with Primorsky State Agricultural Academy and the Toyota Environmental Activity Grant Program organized training courses for specialists from 11 forestry units of Primorye to use drones and KEDR satellite monitoring system for detecting illegal logging.
“KEDR satellite monitoring system was developed with the support of WWF Russia and put into operation in Primorsky and Khabarovsky provinces in 2018-2019. It greatly facilitates the work of forest inspectors and makes their work against illegal logging more efficient. For example, more than 30 illegal logging cases, with a total timber volume of more than 2600 m3 and damage of more than 76 million rubles, were revealed in 2019 by 4 state forest guard groups in Primorsky and Khabarovsky provinces using KEDR satellite monitoring system in their work, - comments Pavel Garazha, senior specialist in sustainable forest management at WWF Russia Amur Branch.
Drone pilot training workshop
Elena Starostina / WWF Russia

The use of drones to check the signals of KEDR system significantly expands the geography of its use and, of course, the capabilities of foresters. This year, thanks to the administration of the Primorsky province, the largest UAV air fleet in Russia was formed in the forestries of Primorye. Now it consists of 37 units! 2 drones were acquired by WWF Russia last year for forest inspectors and 35 were purchased this year by the Primorsky Administration for all 11 forest districts of the province.

Pavel Garazha, WWF Russia, gives interview to the federal and provincialTV Channels
Elena Starostina / WWF Russia
“KEDR system has a built-in ability to automatically check signals using drones. Testing has shown the high efficiency of using drones to detect illegal logging. It is important that with such a solid UAV fleet, KEDR system in Primorye now switches from a test mode to a continuous operation mode. Our workshop was organized in order to control forest management with successful use of drones,” - adds Pavel Garazha.
Training under the program "Use of UAVs to combat illegal logging" was held in Primorye on December 16-20. Theoretical classes were held in Ussuriysk at the Forestry Innovation Centre which was created and operates in the State Agricultural Academy with the support of WWF Russia and Toyota Environmental Activity Grant Program. The practical part was carried out in the forest nursery and at the model forest area of ​​the Academy. Note that this production base with an area of ​​almost 29 thousand hectares was legally assigned to the State Agricultural Agricultural Reserve in 2011 as conservation concession with the help of the WWF. For many years, the forest area of ​​the Academy has been actively used for training students, graduate students, advanced training of forestry employees of the Russian Far East.
Theoretical courses on drone piloting at the Forest Innovation Centre
Evgeny Egidarev / WWF Russia
“Today, the Primorsky State Agricultural Academy is a leading university for training of forest specialists for the entire forestry complex of the Russian Far East. Our close and long-standing cooperation with the WWF just allows us to bring specialists to a new level of training - using UAVs, IT technologies, remote space monitoring to track logging operations.” - said Andrey Komin, head of PSAA.
During the workshop forestry rangers learned about drones assembling and preparing for flight, mastered the skills of piloting and aerial photography, and, importantly, got acquainted with the basics of air legislation when using UAVs. The quality of training is also shown by the fact that during field tests, students recorded an illegal oak cut in the Mikhailovsky district of Primorye. A black logger was detained at the illegal logging site and the information was submitted to the law enforcement agency.
Vladimir Kistkin, director of Roshchinsky branch of PrimLes forestry unit (on the left) and Pavel Garazha, WWF Russia
“We understand that drones are a significant help for us, so we are learning to use it. Drones reduce the time when revealing logging sites and detecting forest fires. I think that the fact that we now have such drones in our forestry unit will stop many from illegal actions. The drone rises up in the air within 5 minutes and gives a full analysis of the situation in a particular territory, in most cases very distant and inaccessible areas. This is a big step in the forestry of the Primorsky province,” said Vladimir Kistkin, director of Roshchinsky branch of PrimLes forestry unit.
Drone in action
Elena Starostina / WWF Russia
At the same period a seminar on decoding satellite imagery and forest mapping in the QGIS program was organized for employees of the Forest Protection Centers of the Primorsky and Khabarovsky provinces. Thanks to the gained knowledge, employees of the Forest Protection Centers will be able to decrypt satellite images in practice, which will help them in identifying poor and dead plantations.
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