Low-cost drones fly to the rescue of the world's forests

phys.org | 2/22/2019 | Staff
echolea (Posted by) Level 3
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Almost 1.6 billion people – more than a quarter of the global population – rely on forests for their livelihood. Of this number, it's said that around 60 million indigenous people are almost entirely dependent on forests to survive. Forests not only help these people to subsist, they also provide a number of essential services. They protect the soil, regulate water and support biodiversity. Equally important, they also store carbon, playing an important role in the fight against climate change.

Deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for about 17 % of carbon emissions emitting more CO2 than the world's entire transportation sector. Each year around 7 million hectares of forest are lost to deforestation. Initiatives such as REDD+ offer incentives to countries to reduce their emissions by keeping their forests standing. Countries receive payments based on the amount of carbon stored in their forests. However accurate measuring and monitoring of biomass (the quantity of living plant material) and hence carbon stock can be expensive and difficult to achieve. This is especially true for Brazil's vast forests where biomass mapping via satellite is challenging due to cloud cover.

Challenge - Research - Team - Members - Brazil

To address this challenge a research team comprising members from Brazil and six European countries launched the EU-funded project COREGAL in 2015. Using a technique called Global Navigation Satellite System-Reflectometry (GNSS-R) the team developed low-cost drones that map biomass as they fly...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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