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Drones In Forestry

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

October 27, 2020 | Authors: Field Supervisor/Project Manager, Victor Fobert


Curated information is derived from a combination of Forteck crew members with first-hand experience and verified online sources or government sites. We work very hard to provide quality educational information relevant to the forestry industry to promote forestry and the great things foresters can do. Please let us know if you find any misinformation and we will correct it immediately. It takes a village to educate! Thank you for reading and working together in further teaching people about forestry. #forestryproud


Versatile Equipment

Drones or UAVs have developed from large and relatively expensive tools into many of today’s more cost-effective and efficient tools in the forest. They are now being picked up by more users due to their versatility; some are hard-working drones capable of carrying payloads, while other drones are used for their ability to capture high-quality images and videos. So, what can you do with a drone in the forest?

Obvious answers include photo work of potential working areas, scouting of access lines or assessments of damage from a weather event, such as hail or maybe a tornado. We live in Canada, meaning an early or late season snow event can wreak havoc on a young forest. Photo documentation of your cutblock following a treatment can be worth a thousand words a few years later during an audit. When it comes to drones, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Further Uses

These are just a few roles that a drone can fill in the forest industry. Many of these roles are further enhanced with the use of the software available through 3rd party apps. Once able to start making use of these tools, the opportunities begin to grow as now you can create maps and overlays for your digital databases. Want to monitor the progress of your worksite or do an area-based audit of completed work? What better way than to use a drone to map the progress over time. 

Technical Aspects

As the photos are taken, they receive a geo-reference which allows the data processing software in other application to be able to plot them. This information is invaluable to produce the various final products, which can include but are not limited to canopy height updates, forest health mapping, waste and residue surveys or forest inventories and timber typing.

As drone technology continues to evolve, the importance of the data we capture will continue to change with it. More opportunities for drones will become apparent as the forest industry continues to learn and explore the capabilities of this new tool.

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Many Foresters today are utilizing drone technology. Certainly at the right time it can improve workflow by gathering vital data in the hours and days after an that can help facilitate quicker applications for felling, understanding the site and the extent of the damage, access routes, damage to utilities and other structures, priority clearance.

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