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Drone gathers tree data in NT


The company in charge of Australia’s largest African mahogany plantation has enlisted the services of a drone to gather data on its trees in the Northern Territory. Source: ABC Rural

African Mahogany Australia (AMA) manages nearly 13,000 hectares of mahogany trees in the Douglas Daly region, 200 kilometres south of Darwin.

AMA’s Northern Territory manager, Frank Miller, said forestry companies across the globe were seeing plenty of benefits in using drone technology.

“We’re using the best available technology to gather information on our plantations to enhance the management of what we’re doing in the Douglas Daly,” he told ABC Rural.

“So what the drone does, it collects photography that we can look at to [check] the health of the plantation and from that, we can adjust our management practices.

“We’re generally looking at tree health and the health of the plantation.

“The labour costs to go in and individually assess large areas of trees becomes quite costly, so drones give us a far more detailed perspective of the different stands of trees.”

Mr Miller said the drone was used this week on a trial basis, but the early results looked good.

“What we want to do is get a grasp of what sort of detail and management-use we can get out of this information,” he said.

“We’ll look at the cost of it and the benefit, but going forward I can’t see why we wouldn’t be using this [technology] more and more, because of the level of detail that you can get on the imagery.

“So I’m pretty excited to see the results of what we got up to yesterday [with the drone].”