Use of drones and other remote sensing techniques in environmental management
Remote sensing techniques detect and quantify spatiotemporal changes in territories that are difficult to perceive with the use of other tools
Based on automated digital photogrammetry techniques such as Structure from Motion as well as other remote sensing technologies such as LiDAR and multi-spectral cameras, high resolution digital elevation models are constructed as well as aerial, thermal orthophotographies and derived products as vigour of vegetation.
Very detailed geomorphometric analysis are allowed to model hydrological and geomorphological processes such as runoff generation and sediment pathways very useful in the detection of land degradation at landscapes under soil conservation structures; collapse of agricultural terraces or conservation of traditional drainage systems.
The research group manages high technology instruments (i.e., drones and different sensors) as well as specialized software (i.e., GIS and photogrammetry). In addition, the scientific contrasted knowledge in the hydrological and geomorphological analysis ofresulting products.
This service is aimed at public administrations and individuals in economic activities such as agriculture, forest management and environmental risks in highly active geomorphological systems (river and coastal).
The research group has collaborated with the Environment Ministry of the Balearic Islands Autonomous Government to carry out the monitoring of erosion processes caused by wildfires and to analyse the evolution of vegetation under the effect of different post-fire management techniques. The use of drones must be also emphasized in the development of this techniques.
The group was also part of European project EUFAR: European Facility for Airborne Research - FP7: Mediterranean HYDRological and HYPSpectral monitoring of landscape Connectivity in contrasting Mediterranean insular catchments (Mallorca, Spain). These studies are focused on (1) providing information of vegetation evolution, soil and terrain characteristics by using hyperspectral and LiDAR data, and (2) tracking sediment sources and pathways through spectral sediment fingerprinting studies. The group's research is focused on three catchment: the small catchment of Font de la Vila, severely affected by wildfires, and medium-sized catchments such as Sant Miquel and Na Borges, all located on the island of Mallorca.
These studies allow to improve the understanding of the link between biological and hydrological and geomorphological processes after a severe wildfire in Mediterranean ecosystems. This information may be useful to develop management strategies for the post-fire regeneration of ecosystems.