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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.
My mission is to reduce blue whale death by ship-strike in the Indian Ocean. I want to use standard survey methods to verify habitat models that tell us where the whales are most at risk from ships, add photos to our Sri Lankan Photo-ID catalog that will enable us to estimate numbers of whales in this unique population, use an OpenROV to investigate areas where whales spend time to see what they might be doing at depth and to see what other species they may interact with, and take all of you - to the mystical Indian Ocean!
After a lengthy wait and some moderate hacking, OpenROV #1790 is complete and had its first dive this afternoon. As far as I know, it is the first v2.7 to utilize the BlueRobotics thrusters and performed very well on its first dive. #1790 Is only intended to be a "quick look" platform or something I can easily throw over the side and investigate a site of interest to determine if it is a wreck...or a rock pile. The larger "work class" documentation ROV is next in development.
The Tao of Poo Tortoise poo has much to teach us, Grasshopper, if only we will pay close attention. Let us delve into the mysteries of this reptilian nether realm. Is there a tortoise here? If we find the unmistakable old stogie shapes seen in the photo we know that tortoises are in the area. Tortoise scat is an important sign, especially in areas lacking burrows. Numbers of scat can be compared between areas to help generate estimates of relative tortoise densities. How long ago was it here? The photo shows a time series with a fresh, dark pellet on the left and an old, nearly decomposed turd on the right. They emerge from the animal moist and bearing a glossy coating. Over time this layer flakes off and the scat dries and starts to fade. In its bleached old age it flakes apart and returns to enrich the soil. What was on the menu? If it's coarse perennial grass the thick fibers, as seen here, will align on the long axis of the scat. Annual wildflowers result in much finer grain. Botanists can take them apart and generate a species list based on undigested plant parts. Sometimes the scat will be partially or completely composed of soil. Tortoises love to orally mine mineral rich deposits, especially for calcium. This gives new meaning to the term “roughage”. And sometimes we see bits of bright plastic in there – an indication of the dangers of mistaking petrochemical products for natural food. Is this a favored burrow? Often when we look down a burrow we see many scat in the tunnel. This tells us that this is a frequently used shelter. How big is this tortoise? Naturally, turds scale. Finding an itty-bitty tortoise scat, a perfect miniature of the adult version, is exciting because it means there is likely an itty-bitty tortoise somewhere nearby. Many a successful hunt of a juvenile tortoise has started with the discovery of these products of digestion. What direction was it going? I kid you not, turds are arrows telling you where the critter was headed when nature called. (Note: I could have used a fitting scatalogical verb instead of “kid” but I spared you, Dear Reader. You're welcome.) Look again at the photo- each one has a blunt end and a pointy one. The sharp bit was last out and points the way. I have caught tortoises by paying heed to this detail when finding a “freshie”. And a personal note: I love tortoise turds. They tell me my favorite animal is around and some of what its life is like. But there is something else: they smell great! One of my rituals is to crack open the first fresh scat of the season and take a deep whiff of its wonderfully sweet, hay-like scent. Despite our visual bias we humans are creatures of scent emotionally. All the wonderful times I've had in the desert come flooding over me as I inhale essence of tortuga. Ahhhhhh...
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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