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DRONES HELP TO PROTECT THE RAIN FOREST Aerial photographs show the fire erosion and the subsequent restoration measures in Sikundur, Sumatra. Full view


Our team of the Sumatra Orangutan Conservation Program has been using drones for several years. Their use has a wide range of objectives: rainforest protection, monitoring of forest areas and monitoring of the orangutans.

An important part of our program is to protect the habitat of the orangutans. The constant observation of the rain forest is therefore crucial. Where are areas of stoll intact rain forest? How healthy is this rain forest? Where happened illegal logging? And how many orangutan nests can be located in certain areas? In order to be able to answer these questions, large areas are regularly photographed from the air.

The drones, equipped with cameras and GoPros, provide valuable serial images, which can be merged into a comprehensive overview plan. These images provide insights into the condition of the forest, the dispersion of the orangutan populations and any  illegal activities.

The cover pictures show images of an area in Sikundur taken at different times. In 2011 the rain forest was intact. By 2013, however, slash-and-burn had causes considerable damage. Along the riverbank rain forest was left standing. This was done on purpose as the whole area is only accessible by boat;  from the river the appearance of an intact rain forest was therefore preserved. Staff members of the Orangutan Conservation Program provided these pictures to the official patrol of the National Park. As a result the perpetrators could be held responsible and a restoration program could be startet : fortunately in 2015 the effets are visible and the forest is growing !

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