We’ve seen drones used for infrastructure work, we’ve seen it used for photography and filmmaking, and we’ve also seen it used for search and rescue efforts. Now it seems that drones can also be used to help with the study of the environment as well as to check up on the health of the current ecosystem.

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In a partnership between Parrot and UC Berkeley, it seems that the company’s drones will be used to help track the health of giant sequoia trees, especially those that might have been ravaged by drought. Prior to this, climate researchers actually had to manually scale the trees themselves if they wanted to gather information.

Not only is this time-consuming, but it can also prove to be dangerous. According to Dr. Todd Dawson, faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, “Tackling a huge and critically important issue like climate change requires research that leads to solutions. Drones with their new on-board sensor packages are powerful new tools that will allow us to look very closely at single trees but then really pull back and look at how an entire forest is responding too, in both time and over space.”

Dr. Gregory Crutsinger, who leads Scientific Programs for Parrot adds, “This is a fascinating collaboration for us. We are combining skill sets of scientific research and professional tree climbing to map the interior structure of a tree crown with cutting-edge drone technology to scan the outside. Together, we have an amazing 3-dimensional dataset that is unique to the world!”

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