TechnologyResearchers are using drones to study the Amazon rainforest's health
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A record number of fires have been raging for three weeks.
Researchers from Harvard University are using drones to better understand the. With drone-based sensors, the researchers hope to determine the unique "fingerprint" of different rainforest ecosystems. That could help them monitor the health of the forest and understand how it's responding to climate change, deforestation and fire.
Every plant emits a different volatile organic compound (VOC) signature, or fingerprint, which can change based on factors like drought or flood. By monitoring these signals, scientists can study how forest ecosystems adapt to. Despite that valuable info, the Amazon's VOCs were previously monitored by just a handful of towers built in one type of ecosystem. The data was limited and biased, and biosphere emissions models assumed nearby ecosystems had the same VOC emissions.
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Since 2017, researchers from Harvard, Amazonas State University (UEA) and the Amazonas State Research Support Foundation (FAPEAM) have been working on aemitted in different ecosystems in central Amazonia.
Their research, published in, proves that different ecosystems have different VOC signatures. Next, the team plans to sample more ecosystems in water-logged valleys along rivers. They'll use a boat as a launching platform, and hope to test a three-drone fleet.
"This research highlights how little we understood forest heterogeneity," said Harvard professor Scot Martin. "But drone-assisted technologies can help us understand and quantify VOC emissions in different, nearby ecosystems in order to better represent them in climate and air quality model simulations."
Trump says he offered Bolsonaro assistance with Amazon rainforest fires
President Trump on Friday said he offered assistance Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro if needed to address wildfires that are engulfing parts of the Amazon Rainforest.Trump tweeted that U.S. has "very exciting" trade prospects with Brazil, and that the relationship between the two countries is "perhaps stronger than ever before.""I told him if the United States can help with the Amazon Rainforest fires, we stand ready to assist!" Trump tweeted. Just spoke with President @JairBolsonaro of Brazil. Our future Trade prospects are very exciting and our relationship is strong, perhaps stronger than ever before.
Advancements incould make research like this more common. Already, Boeing is working on a that will gather climate data and atmospheric research, and of course, we've seen drones put to use . ,
Drones help sea turtles
This new monitoring method used by researchers is proving to be effective and less costly than the plane or the satellite. And provides spectacular images.
For more than ten years, researchers have useddrones to study and monitor wild animals. This method seems particularly suited to complete the range of tools available to scientists specializing in the research and conservation of marine turtles. Drones are "increasingly being used to gather data in more detail and over larger areas than before," says Alan Rees of the Conservation and Ecology Center at Exeter University (Great Britain). Brittany) and lead author (Endangered Species Research).
For now, only six scientific articles have reported the use of drones "to identify and track sea turtles, only near the coast," says the publication cosigned by 23 researchers. But this method "will revolutionize the collection of information and facilitate the acquisition of previously inaccessible data," note the researchers.Fight against poaching
The cost of drones is, of course, less than that of planes or satellites. And the availability of unmanned flying gears is greater. They allow above all a more exhaustive observation of the beaches where these marine animals lay. They are used to study their behavior, to distinguish the sex of sea turtles (elongated caudal shape characterizes young adults and males), to follow their movements near the coast, to automatically recover data for banded animals equipped with sensors. , to observe them at night near the coast when the sea is shallow, or especially in inaccessible or dangerous areas.
In the future, the drone surveillance method, currently used up to ten kilometers from the shore, could even be used on the high seas. It would therefore be particularly suitable for combating the poaching of these animals, whose flesh is very popular in Asia. This drone surveillance could help raise public awareness of the plight of endangered animals and the preservation of their ecosystems.A complementary method to field observations
Despite their many advantages, drones are not a panacea. In particular, because of the restrictive regulation in some countries for the flight over beaches, specify the researchers. And they can not completely replace other methods of air and satellite monitoring for species conservation.
Finally, they will not be able to substitute for direct observations on site, with researchers visiting the field. Because it will continue to collect samples on the beaches. In addition, the researchers intend to continue their studies, to make sure that the noise of the propellers and the shape of the gear, which could be confused with that of predatory birds of the eggs or baby turtles, do not make flee animals and do not change their behavior.
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