From Coastal to Montane Forest Ecosystems, Using Drones for Multi-Species Research in the Tropics

Dede Aulia Rahman, Andre Bonardo Yonathan Sitorus, Aryo Adhi Condro
2021 Drones  
Biodiversity monitoring is crucial in tackling defaunation in the Anthropocene, particularly in tropical ecosystems. However, field surveys are often limited by habitat complexity, logistical constraints, financing and detectability. Hence, leveraging drones technology for species monitoring is required to overcome the caveats of conventional surveys. We investigated prospective methods for wildlife monitoring using drones in four ecosystems. We surveyed waterbird populations in Pulau Rambut, a
more » ... community of ungulates in Baluran and endemic non-human primates in Gunung Halimun-Salak, Indonesia in 2021 using a DJI Matrice 300 RTK and DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual with additional thermal sensors. We then, consecutively, implemented two survey methods at three sites to compare the efficacy of drones against traditional ground survey methods for each species. The results show that drone surveys provide advantages over ground surveys, including precise size estimation, less disturbance and broader area coverage. Moreover, heat signatures helped to detect species which were not easily spotted in the radiometric imagery, while the detailed radiometric imagery allowed for species identification. Our research also demonstrates that machine learning approaches show a relatively high performance in species detection. Our approaches prove promising for wildlife surveys using drones in different ecosystems in tropical forests.
doi:10.3390/drones6010006 fatcat:yanouviy2zhp3fqxbwfiafkhee