Looking to survey nearly 400 acres, the team partnered with AgEagle, a drone provider and DotMote Labs, a climate station provider. Together, they used a state-of-the-art fixed-wing drone capable of flying long distances and carrying sensors to directly capture data around the understory climate like temperature, humidity, and more. John says, “With sophisticated drone sensors and imagery, we could get a sense of how stressed the vegetation is while also looking at spatial patterns, like whether south-facing slopes are more exposed and at risk of desiccation (drying out) — down to centimeter by centimeter resolution.”
The mapping project provided a wealth of data to consider, such as how selectively removing trees to different extents influences the health of a forest and the temperature within it. Ultimately the findings will help further inform how these important ecosystems can be managed and shape restoration practices as extreme climate events, like heat domes, become more common.
Charting Aerial Insights Through Drone Monitoring
At TNC Washington’s Port Susan Bay Preserve, we explored explosives as a way to create deep, interconnected estuary channels to improve the wildlife habitat. But instead of traditional heavy machinery, we sought inspiration from an unconventional source: dynamite.