High tech monitoring of old growth forests

Drones, laser scanners, planes and sharp shooters have been put to work in the Tasmanian forest to better understand the environmental effects of forest management regimes.

Researchers from The University of Queensland worked with CSIRO, Forestry Tasmania and the University of Tasmania to comprehensively measure and assess a 25km2 area known as the Warra Tall Eucalypt SuperSite.

The researchers used advanced laser scanners to capture the 3D structure of the forest down to individual leaf detail; an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (or drone) to collect infrared images, which allowed them to distinguish between tree species; and a tree climber and sharp shooter to collect sample leaves from high in the canopy to study the chemical composition.

“By consistently monitoring and comparing structural and biodiversity indicators across the World Heritage and State forest areas, we can determine the long-term effects of forest management regimes and measure how environmental change is affecting the forest,” said Dr Peter Scarth from the University of Queensland.

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