Drones in Ecology

A section of Drones (ISSN 2504-446X).

Section Information

Aims and Scopes

Recent increases in the use of drone-borne systems sensors for ecological and conservation-related applications have been motivated by reduced costs, increased availability, new and enhanced passive (e.g., multi- and hyper-spectral) and active sensors (e.g., lidar), and the increased accessibility of user-friendly software for analysis of collected data, as well as the advancement and ongoing development of sophisticated fusion algorithms. Data have moved beyond mapping and monitoring ecosystem structure and species composition to directly mapping individual plant species or wildlife and now can improve the overall understanding of advanced community ecological, conservation biology, forest and marine ecological theory and application, and the human dimensions of sustainability in varied landscape mosaics (e.g., landscape ecology).

In this section, we invite submissions from the broad ecology and applied conservation community, including but not limited to forest, freshwater, and marine ecologists, wildlife and conservation biologists, land-use and land-cover experts, and sustainability science researchers who use drone-borne sensors ranging from small and low-cost systems (e.g., DJI Phantom) with single sensors to complex multisensor fusion platforms (e.g., www.gatoreye.org).

We will be accepting review articles, technical notes, and research contributions. Basic contributions related to ecology or method development, as well as those that are more cutting-edge or interdisciplinary, on all themes related to ecology are welcomed. Some example topics include:

  • Development of methodologies using drone-borne data approaches for applied conservation;
  • Integration of remote sensors for the structural representation of forests, trees, and ecosystems in general;
  • Use of drone-borne LiDAR, hyperspectral, multispectral, thermal, and visual data for parameter attribute at landscape levels and individual trees;
  • Application of drones and photogrammetry for helping in the development of natural sciences;
  • Integration of platforms for analysis of distribution and density of fauna and flora species;
  • Use of drone-borne data for assessing sustainability related to human–environment interactions and land use and land cover change (LULCC);
  • Modeling efforts to calculate specific parameters from drone acquired data, such as microclimate variables in 3D and through time, and related to any aspect of ecology and conservation, including animal distribution and movement ecology, foliar ecophysiology, and plant–animal interactions.

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