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UAV-Supported Forest Regeneration: Current Trends, Challenges and Implications

Department of Geography, University of California—Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94709, USA
United Nations Volunteering Program, Morobe Development Foundation, Lae 00411, Papua New Guinea
DroneSeed Co., 1123 NW 51st Street, Seattle, WA 25198, USA
The Nature Conservancy, Maryland/DC Chapter, Cumberland, MD 21502, USA
School of Forest Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, 80101 Joensuu, Finland
Dronecoria, 03202 Elche, Spain
Department of Forest Engineering, Federal University of Paraná—UFPR, Curitiba 80210-170, PR, Brazil
Joint Research Unit CTFC—AGROTECNIO—CERCA, 25198 Solsona, Spain
Department of Crop and Forest Sciences, University of Lleida, 25003 Lleida, Spain
Department of Forest Engineering, Federal University of Viçosa, Viçosa 36570-900, MG, Brazil
Earth Observation Directorate, South African National Space Agency, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2050, South Africa
Spatial Ecology and Conservation Lab, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Department of Civil Engineering, Papua New Guinea University of Technology, Lae 00411, Papua New Guinea
Morobe Development Foundation, Doyle Street, Trish Avenue-Eriku, Lae 00411, Papua New Guinea
Forest Resource Assessment & Conservation Division, Ministry of Forestry, Suva, Fiji
Tecnosylva, Parque Tecnológico de León, 24009 León, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Mauro Maesano and Federico Valerio Moresi
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(13), 2596;
Received: 7 June 2021 / Revised: 25 June 2021 / Accepted: 28 June 2021 / Published: 2 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UAV Applications for Forest Management: Wood Volume, Biomass, Mapping)
Replanting trees helps with avoiding desertification, reducing the chances of soil erosion and flooding, minimizing the risks of zoonotic disease outbreaks, and providing ecosystem services and livelihood to the indigenous people, in addition to sequestering carbon dioxide for mitigating climate change. Consequently, it is important to explore new methods and technologies that are aiming to upscale and fast-track afforestation and reforestation (A/R) endeavors, given that many of the current tree planting strategies are not cost effective over large landscapes, and suffer from constraints associated with time, energy, manpower, and nursery-based seedling production. UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)-supported seed sowing (UAVsSS) can promote rapid A/R in a safe, cost-effective, fast and environmentally friendly manner, if performed correctly, even in otherwise unsafe and/or inaccessible terrains, supplementing the overall manual planting efforts globally. In this study, we reviewed the recent literature on UAVsSS, to analyze the current status of the technology. Primary UAVsSS applications were found to be in areas of post-wildfire reforestation, mangrove restoration, forest restoration after degradation, weed eradication, and desert greening. Nonetheless, low survival rates of the seeds, future forest diversity, weather limitations, financial constraints, and seed-firing accuracy concerns were determined as major challenges to operationalization. Based on our literature survey and qualitative analysis, twelve recommendations—ranging from the need for publishing germination results to linking UAVsSS operations with carbon offset markets—are provided for the advancement of UAVsSS applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: planting trees with drones; seed pods; unmanned aerial system (UAS); seed spraying drones; forestry applications of UAVs; afforestation and reforestation using UAVs planting trees with drones; seed pods; unmanned aerial system (UAS); seed spraying drones; forestry applications of UAVs; afforestation and reforestation using UAVs
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mohan, M.; Richardson, G.; Gopan, G.; Aghai, M.M.; Bajaj, S.; Galgamuwa, G.A.P.; Vastaranta, M.; Arachchige, P.S.P.; Amorós, L.; Corte, A.P.D.; de-Miguel, S.; Leite, R.V.; Kganyago, M.; Broadbent, E.N.; Doaemo, W.; Shorab, M.A.B.; Cardil, A. UAV-Supported Forest Regeneration: Current Trends, Challenges and Implications. Remote Sens. 2021, 13, 2596.

AMA Style

Mohan M, Richardson G, Gopan G, Aghai MM, Bajaj S, Galgamuwa GAP, Vastaranta M, Arachchige PSP, Amorós L, Corte APD, de-Miguel S, Leite RV, Kganyago M, Broadbent EN, Doaemo W, Shorab MAB, Cardil A. UAV-Supported Forest Regeneration: Current Trends, Challenges and Implications. Remote Sensing. 2021; 13(13):2596.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mohan, Midhun, Gabriella Richardson, Gopika Gopan, Matthew M. Aghai, Shaurya Bajaj, G. A.P. Galgamuwa, Mikko Vastaranta, Pavithra S.P. Arachchige, Lot Amorós, Ana P.D. Corte, Sergio de-Miguel, Rodrigo V. Leite, Mahlatse Kganyago, Eben N. Broadbent, Willie Doaemo, Mohammed A.B. Shorab, and Adrian Cardil. 2021. "UAV-Supported Forest Regeneration: Current Trends, Challenges and Implications" Remote Sensing 13, no. 13: 2596.

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