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Drones for Justice: Rainforest Conservation and Protection by Local Communities in Borneo, IndonesiaTayan, Kabupaten Sanggau, West Kalimantan Province, Indonesia, Jan 27 to Feb 28 This expedition aims on mapping rainforest with an extraordinary high biodiversity. The remote area is subject to anthropogenic disturbances large scale logging, mining and oil palm plantations. Indonesian spatial planning process actually gives locals a chance to influence spatial plans. The key is the locals need to provide maps proving that the forest are still exist and they need to provide that the forest is conserved and protected through the customary system sustainably. The locals need to obtain the status of “customary forest” in order to protect the remaining forest. Conventional participatory mapping might take months in remote areas, using drones is way more efficient and more accurate. Scientifically, UAVs as a method to conduct participatory mapping and to monitor land-use-changes provides a promising methods and arena for further research. Technically, very-high resolution geo-referenced map will be developed through methods of using UAV to take aerial images of the forest, then developed into maps and legal documents for the local communities. Educationally, training in mapping forest using UAVs Communities, NGOs and government agencies is believed to give community strength to support their on-going efforts in protecting the forest, thus promoting environmental and social justice. We will explore the geographical heart of Borneo in West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. The area is covered by some of the last remaining primary rainforests worldwide, that harbors an extraordinary high biodiversity and local communities that depend on it. We use UAVs for aerial mapping, showing the importance and the beauty of this ecosystem.
A lifetime of work studying the threatened desert tortoise has taught me about the threats they face. This project will use new tools (internet mediated remotely operated vehicles, lasers, modern tracking technology) to make unprecedented strides in addressing those threats while engaging massive numbers of collaborators.
During summer camp and our other programs, we show student scientists how to collect ecological data in a standardized ways in the field. Two tools that we use are transects (collecting data along a line) and quadrats (collecting data from a grid). Transects can be used through many habitats, along a beach or through a deep sea trench. We sometimes combine methods, creating a grid along a transect line. This method allows us to limit the scope of our data collection in a systematic way; we collect data from quadrats along a transect line at regular intervals. From this data we can extrapolate and make comparisons. This is also an excellent tool to help students look more closely. Pictured below are students using quadrats along a transect through a rocky intertidal area. They were able to distinguish between intertidal zones as they moved along the transect, and also found some cool animals (a sculpin and an anemone).
Good news. The ROV is built. Initial testing in the workshop has been good and all systems seem to be operational. The next step is to test the ROV in water. It's still quite cold outside in the North East of the US, so this may be a brief test in the East River of New York City. Assuming the test dive goes well, the next step will be at one of the mine sites. I have been considering what the best mine to visit will be. I have come up with the following criteria: A. We want them to be hikable as a day trip with plenty of time at the mine. B. Mines that are a little be less accessible will mean a quiet visit without "tourists". That may seem like the opposite approach, as we want to share this with others, but mine shafts and the area around mines are very dangerous. We don't want to lure people to the edge of a deep dark pit.C. Clearly we want flooded mines. So I have made a list of all of the flooded excavations listed in Iron Mine Trails - <a href="http://amzn.to/1CJbgVV" data-longurl="http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FIron-Mine-Trails-Edward-Lenik-ebook%2Fdp%2FB00F3L4VYW">amazon.com/Iron-Mine-Trails-Edward-Lenik-ebook/dp/B00F3L4VYW</a>. D. Some mine sites have one excavation and some have several. If we carry in all of the equipment and it turns out that our shaft only extends 3 meters into the hillside, then it may feel like a wasted day. So perhaps we prioritize sites that have multiple options. In addition, the mine workings come in four types: 1. Vertical shafts 2. Shafts that slant into the hillside 3. Horizontal shafts or shafts that slope up 4. Open cuttings Type 3 are not water filled, so we focus on the other three. Type 1 may be best explored with a camera on a rope initially - perhaps a GoPro with a dive housing and some lights. Type 2 are the most tantalizing and the Dater mine is of this kind - the mine that first inspired this project. Type 4 - open cuttings - may be the easiest, but they may be the most uninteresting. They are more likely to be filled with modern trash and may not be that deep. That said, one water filled cutting is rumored to be over 100 feet deep, so that will be worth exploring. I'm crunching all of these parameters in a spreadsheet and coming up with a list of priorities. More to come as I decide which sites to explore first...
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, established in 2000, seeks to advance environmental conservation, scientific research, and improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit http://www.moore.org/
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