LiDAR drones spearhead Welsh university’s research into forests


The Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics Group at Aberystwyth University has invested in LiDAR drones and imaging packages which it hopes will improve the university’s global research, particularly into forests.

The unit, configured by COPTRZ, is expected to enhance the university’s research into the monitoring of British forests, focusing on the measurement of standing timber volumes, forest biomass and carbon content. The aerial view imagery will aid the university in understanding otherwise hard-to-access aspects of British forests.

The data captured will then be used to monitor the introduction of Continuous Cover Forestry, a forest management technique that increases the ecological diversity of British forests by protecting them during regeneration phases.

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Osian Roberts, PhD Student at Aberystwyth University, told trade website sUAS News: “We anticipate that the proliferation of UAV technologies over forthcoming years will enhance opportunities for the collection and analysis of remotely sensed data, presenting our students and researchers with an opportunity to increase our knowledge of our environment.”

Aberystwyth University is one of many institutions to gradually phase in the use of drones into its research and education.

At the Western Sydney University for example, it became the first university in Australia to formalise the use of drones for research and teaching, utilising them in a similar way to Aberystwyth, such as collecting data on local ecosystems.

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Josh Corder

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