Satellites and drones could help save pollinators, research suggests

“Drones can give us fine detail about a landscape – down to the scale of individual flowers – and by combining this with satellite imagery we can learn more about the food available to pollinators over a large area,” Dunia Gonzales, from the Center for Research in Animal Behavior at the University of Exeter, said.

Local differences

According to Gonzales, so far most research using satellites has focused on large-scale agricultural landscapes such as rapeseed, corn and almond farms. “We emphasize the need to study landscapes with complex communities of plants and pollinators. These vary from place to place – and using satellites and drones together is a good way to learn about these local differences.

Pollination of food crops

Pollinators provide a range of benefits, particularly to humans by pollinating food crops. Much of their behavior and habitats – and the impact of human-caused climate and habitat change – remains unknown. “With some species of pollinators in decline, including many wild bees, we urgently need this understanding to protect not only pollinators in general, but also the great diversity of species that each play a vital role in ecosystems. complex,” Gonzales said.

Data from satellites and drones could help researchers understand the threats they face and design conservation programs.

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