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Drones 2019, 3(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones3010010

Drones for Conservation in Protected Areas: Present and Future

1
MARE—Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Quinta do Lorde Marina, Sítio da Piedade, 9200-044 Caniçal, Madeira Island, Portugal
2
School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 9 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones for Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Monitoring)
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Abstract

Park managers call for cost-effective and innovative solutions to handle a wide variety of environmental problems that threaten biodiversity in protected areas. Recently, drones have been called upon to revolutionize conservation and hold great potential to evolve and raise better-informed decisions to assist management. Despite great expectations, the benefits that drones could bring to foster effectiveness remain fundamentally unexplored. To address this gap, we performed a literature review about the use of drones in conservation. We selected a total of 256 studies, of which 99 were carried out in protected areas. We classified the studies in five distinct areas of applications: “wildlife monitoring and management”; “ecosystem monitoring”; “law enforcement”; “ecotourism”; and “environmental management and disaster response”. We also identified specific gaps and challenges that would allow for the expansion of critical research or monitoring. Our results support the evidence that drones hold merits to serve conservation actions and reinforce effective management, but multidisciplinary research must resolve the operational and analytical shortcomings that undermine the prospects for drones integration in protected areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: protected areas; drones; RPAS; conservation; effective management; biodiversity threats protected areas; drones; RPAS; conservation; effective management; biodiversity threats
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Jiménez López, J.; Mulero-Pázmány, M. Drones for Conservation in Protected Areas: Present and Future. Drones 2019, 3, 10.

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