Using drones for biodiversity monitoring

Date: 15, Nov, 2018
Author(s):   Jose Lahoz-Monfort, Roger Martin
Publisher: TSR Hub

New technologies and advances in survey methodology have the potential to provide more precise data at less cost and with less impact on wildlife than traditional methods. Unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) have great potential in surveying for and collecting data on the presence and abundance of rare mammals. They may be particularly useful in situations where traditional survey techniques (such as spotlighting) are inefficient – for example, when surveying for arboreal species living in rainforest canopy in steep terrain. This project will trial the performance of drones with thermal cameras to provide tangible advice to managers about when they should be used to augment traditional ecological monitoring approaches. It will also develop a framework for designing drone-based surveys, and evaluate the statistical and technical trade-offs between different survey designs.