Drones help communities power economies and restoration in dry Sahel
10 May 2022
Drone, satellite and computer technology will be used in combination could be a is a gamechanger for the Great Green Wall
Public and private partnerships to support supply chain development will assist communities to track baobab trees producing superfoods for global consumption
UNCCD COP15 opening video shines the spotlight on the use of drones to better monitor land restoration projects worldwide
Abidjan, 11 May 2022 - Africa’s Great Green Wall is leading the way in using drones, satellite image and computers to enable countries to generate create new data-driven economies and show the progress made to restore land.
Using drones, satellite images and computers, communities across the Sahel will plot the exact location and population of their Baobab trees using the global positioning system (GPS). The image of each tree growing in the 100 million hectares of land under restoration is collected by drone, converted into data that is transferred via satellite to a computer that is trained to automatically pick out the Baobabs.
With the data, communities are able to provide accurate estimates of their produce to their supply-chain and to project and plan the future economic potential and growth of their superfoods industry and other produce from these trees.
A short film screened at the opening of the High-Level Segment of the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) captured the images and locational data of land restoration projects in countries around the world, including China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana and Senegal.
Drone technology can be used to determine the drivers of land degradation, plant tree seedlings at multiple times the speed of humans and track the growth and germination of individual trees species.
Interview withDelali Dagodzo, Operations Director, SKT Aeroshutter Ghana, describes the various uses of drones in land use, management and data gathering
Ibrahim Thiaw, UNCCD Executive Secretary, speaking at the opening of the COP15 High-Level Segment pointed to the complexity and the urgency of the issues to be addressed and the role science and technology can play in making the right decisions.
“We are still reeling from the consequences of major disruptions that affect our food, energy, industry and economy...From the pandemic to major conflicts. From the climate crisis to nature and land loss. Never before in history, has humanity faced so many complex challenges. Never before, have so many humans depended on so little arable land. Never before, have our land and soils been so damaged. And – fortunately - never before, has a generation been in a such a powerful position to change the course of history for the better. To deploy so much science, knowledge and financial resources in making and implementing the right decisions,” he said.
UNCCD captures the devastating impacts of drought in Turkana County, Kenya, in March 2022
The initiative is a result of collaboration between UNCCD, GLOBHE, a tech start-up that crowdsources drone operators worldwide, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which is working with the communities. The public-private-partnership is built around a shared, common vision of the use of innovative technology to support change towards sustainable social-economic environmental systems.
“We, at GLOBHE, are proud to be part of this unprecedented initiative with the UNCCD and its partners. By improving the understanding of tree populations, stakeholders will be in a position to accelerate the development of sustainable business models that directly benefit local communities. We love these types of initiatives that put drone technology to good use for both the people and the planet,” says Arnaud Henneville-Wedholm, Head of Sales & Business Development at GLOBHE.
"The reason why we chose to work with GLOBHE is the flexibility, speed, and extensive geographical coverage. With Crowddroning, our customers can quickly and flexibly get the data they need when they lack access to a drone for data collection," Jacob Hjalmarsson, COO of Arboair.
"GLOBHE provided incredibly fast, high-quality service and products. The imagery collected will be extremely useful for measuring and monitoring individual trees in an environment critical to both large-scale resource management and local-scale livelihoods and wellbeing. The data collected are already being used to scale-up the detection and characterization of trees and tree species across a larger area of the Sahel which, for sure, will be very important for conservation, restoration, and nature-based climate change activities," Erik Lindquist, Forestry Officer for FAO.
Globhe partners capture the footage for COP15 film
Baobab trees are the test case. Moringa and Balanites trees are among many other hardy, indigenous trees that grow naturally in the region. Most of their produce are consumed locally, but their economic potential for superfoods and other products that are consumed globally is largely unrealized.
Interviews on site can be conducted with Mr. Arnaud Henneville-Wedholm, Head of Sales & Business Development at GLOBHE, or with the drone operators based in Côte d’Ivoire.
For more information contact:
Wagaki Wischnewski, Head of Press and Media, UNCCD, wwischnewski [at] unccd.int (wwischnewskiatunccddotint)
Matilda Waara Holmqvist, Head of Marketing GLOBHE, matilda [at] globhe.com (matildaatglobhedotcom)