Increasing numbers of ecologists and conservation biologists have begun to explore the use of drone technology to obtain accurate and up-to-date data on the distribution and density of species, as well as the threats to their habitats, in their ongoing attempts to conserve and monitor biodiversity. Conservation drones are low-cost, autonomous, and operator-friendly unmanned aerial vehicles that can be used for surveying, mapping, and monitoring both habitat and biodiversity. They are fast becoming a valuable complement to ground-based surveys and satellite imagery for a wide range of ecological and conservation applications. The authors pioneered the use of conservation drones for the purpose of monitoring orangutan populations in Southeast Asia. They subsequently founded ConservationDrones.org to share their knowledge of building and using drones with colleagues in the wider environmental community. Their website has proved highly popular and Conservation Drones aims to further build capacity to use drones and inspire others to adapt emerging technologies for practical conservation.
1: Deciding to use a drone
2: Typology and anatomy of drones
6: Animal detection
7: Data post processing
8: Future casting
Serge Wich is a professor at Liverpool John Moores University (Liverpool, UK) and an honorary professor for the conservation of the great apes at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). Serge is also a co-Founding Director of the non-profit, ConservationDrones. Professor Wich's research focuses on primate behavioural ecology, tropical rain forest ecology, and conservation of primates and their habitats. His research is strongly focused on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and Borneo and he uses a mixture of observational and experimental fieldwork. He also uses emerging technologies such as drones for his work.
Lian Pin Koh is Professor and Chair of Applied Ecology and Conservation at the University of Adelaide, and co-Founding Director of ConservationDrones. Koh is an applied ecologist whose notable scientific contributions include the study of species co-extinctions and modelling the environmental impacts of industrial agriculture across the tropics. His research focuses on developing the Science and Science-based decision support tools to help reconcile society's growing consumptive needs with environmental protection. He addresses this challenge through field studies and experiments, computer simulations and modelling, as well as by co-opting emerging technologies for use in environmental research and applications.
- Shortlisted for the The Wildlife Society's 2019 Authored Book award.
"[...] It’s tricky to write about a new topic in a limited space. What to include/exclude. Happily, the key points are there whilst the copious reference list allows the reader to find out much more of specific issues. Its short, focussed chapters allow the beginner to get a very good overview of the topic without weighing them down with extraneous detail. Overall, a great introduction to this emerging field."
– Paul Ganderton, The Niche, winter 2020