The radio-controlled aircraft are capturing images that paint a picture of the forest. Soaring hundreds or thousands of feet above tree tops, they tell us if there are large patches where tree leaves have fallen (during a time of year when they should be covering the branches) or if a tree might have a disease. Big holes in the forest canopy might indicate illegal loggers have stripped trees from part of the forest.
And, most importantly, drones can be used to see if land is being properly managed in accordance with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards. Adopting FSC standards is one of the best ways for landowners to conserve the world’s forests. These standards protect wildlife habitat, limit pollution, safeguard the rights of people living in or near the forest, and much more.
Within 500,000 acres of forest in Arkansas, Domtar is using drones to monitor land that is certified by FSC. Trees from the land—sitting near a mill owned by the company—are harvested to provide Domtar with the pulp used to produce things like copy paper and baby diapers. Although drones are commonly used today, Domtar has been using drones to help monitor its FSC-certified lands since early 2016.