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Премия рунета 2017

Drones help forest leaseholders

13 april 2017
WWF Russia experts participated in testing of affordable and low cost unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and GPS devices that can be successfully used for forest practices monitoring.

Sustainable forestry is based on responsible forest management, inventory and monitoring, that means conservation of high value forests of the Russian Far East and its richest biodiversity. This refers to the requirements to forest management reports that forest leaseholders must provide monthly. Advanced technologies are here to help forest management.

Since March 1, the national law requires that forest management reports (in case of logging operations and forest restoration) should contain the remote sensing materials (GPS survey, aerial photography), as well as photo and video records.

“Producing, processing and storage of photo and video records will require a lot of efforts from forest users, organizations and forest management agencies. In February-March of 2017 WWF Russia initiated testing of the UAVs and GPS devices on a real logging site to find out if forest users can fulfil new requirements of the Forest code, – comments Dmitry Sychikov, head on sustainable forestry at WWF Russia Amur branch.

The testing was carried out jointly with the representatives of regional division of Federal Forestry Agency, Roslesinforg, forest leaseholder and WWF Russia on a logging site in Arsenyev’s forestry area in Primorsky province.

«In the course of testing we used low cost GPS/GLONASS, mobile devices with various program settings and simple drones of 3 and 4 DJI Phantom type, - comments Andrey Purekhovsky, head of AmurInfoCenter at WWF Russia. – Our task was to define the efficiency of these devices so that any forest leaseholder could prepare the forest management report meeting new requirements. We measured the accuracy of navigation and tested different program settings for drones: recording site location and video recording of the logging site outlines to monitor forest management operations.”

The test showed light error of GPS/GLONASS and mobile devices. The linear error does not exceed 6 meters and angle error – 4 meters. The drone shooting from 500 meters height gives geo plan of the logging site in 1:4 900 scale and has a fine resolution for visual recognition of works that meets the requirements of the new law. In the course of testing it was figured out that the video recording of the site should be done not higher than 150 meters that allows to identify and record logging and skidding trails.

For a more effective use of the UAV and GPS records, regional divisions of Federal forestry agency should organize a single storage of zoning materials from forest declarations and shooting materials from the forest management reports. 

Drone at work
© WWF Russia
Oleg Kabalik, the drone pilot
© WWF Russia
Forest ranger is testing mobile device
© WWF Russia
50 meters video records from the drone showing forest operations
© WWF Russia
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