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Monitoring the Brazilian savanna with lidar and RGB sensors onboard remotely piloted aircraft systems

Date: July 28, 2019

This whitepaper explores the application of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) equipped with RGB and LiDAR sensors for monitoring the Brazilian savanna, known as the Cerrado. The Cerrado is the most biologically diverse savanna globally, facing significant threats from anthropogenic activities, necessitating effective environmental policies. This study demonstrates the potential of these advanced sensing technologies for the physical characterization of landscapes within the Cerrado biome.

The research includes analyses of vegetation structure, where the automatic counting of trees was performed. Results indicated that the average tree height measured by RGB sensors was significantly lower than that obtained by LiDAR, highlighting the limitations of Structure from Motion data in densely vegetated landscapes.

The LiDAR data enabled accurate tree counting, with 1,825 trees identified across the study area and 245 within specific ecological study parcels. This paper underscores the effectiveness of RPAS in reducing the costs and time associated with environmental surveys and evaluations, providing crucial insights for the development of conservation policies in the Cerrado.

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