Miro Forestry and their use of DronesMiro Forestry Company is a global forestry and timber company. Their head office is based in the UK with plantations located in West Africa. The two sites have a total over 10000 hectares of standing forest and 30000 hectares in total. Miro aims to be the leading low-cost producer and supplier of timber using sustainable and responsible methods. Further to this, they aim to have wide-ranging environmental impacts as well as deliver social and economic benefits to the local communities. Their operation spans the planning and planting of trees in nurseries through to the sale of products including timber and transmission poles. Miro is in the early stages of integrating drones into their workflow, utilising them within their planning stages in their plantations. Drones are being used to help provide a unique insight into the planning stages within the plantations. They help identify key factors that can impact the plantation’s timber products relating to environmental conditions and more. Miro Forestry Company - Drone Shot
Interview with Miro Forestry CompanyIn our interview with Miro Forestry Company, we spoke with Zvikomborero Sami. Zvikomborero is based in Ghana and responsible for Miro’s drone operation in the region. Find out what he had to say about the use of drones within the forestry industry below.
Can you give us a brief overview of Miro Forestry and what you do within the company?Miro Forestry is the leading commercial plantation forestry company in Ghana and Sierra Leone, West Africa. We grow fast-rotation tree crops to produce transmission poles and plywood as well as wood chips and pulp for biomass. These products are made for the local and regional market. I work in the planning department responsible for the mapping of all planted and open areas. We use a database to manage the growing stock and assess the planning of future operations. Miro Forestry Company
How and when did you introduce drones into your workflow?We acquired our first drone in 2016. We purchased a drone to complete survival assessments, site mapping and to monitor our plantations. Part of our monitoring was used to check various compartments and assess which areas had been affected by drought or fire. This was done by capturing images during a flyover that were used with a GIS (Geographic Information System).
Which drone and software packages do you use?We currently have a DJI Phantom 4 Pro with several accessories such as additional batteries and chargers. Currently, we are not using any software packages for processing, however, we plan to start using DroneDeploy in the near future. This will help us to produce 2D and 3D maps, contours and DTM. Miro Forestry Company - Drone Shot
How do you interpret the data from the drones and what can you do with it?Currently, the data is used for reconnaissance by checking areas burnt by fire or drought-stricken. As mentioned above, we are planning to use DroneDeploy to help us create images that could be geo-referenced. This would allow us to draw compartment boundaries on GIS.
How did you previously collect this data?Data was collected by completing ground-field surveys using GPS to track the affected areas. Additionally, we used satellite images that were acquired on an annual basis. Miro Forestry Company
What are the benefits that drones bring to your sector and specific workflow?Drones are a cost-effective and time-saving tool that helps simplify work within our forestry operation. They help us identify new areas that are available to plant, allowing us to map out a location. The areas can be missed by a ground team due to the size of the compartments, making it difficult to map.
Are there any limitations to using drones in your operation?Currently, with the type of drone we have, we are a bit limited since we need some software to process georeferenced images. We also use a GPS tracker to double check data due to the complexity of the location of our sites. Miro Forestry Company
SummaryAs you can see in our interview with Zvikomborero above, drones can have some huge potential benefits within forestry. These include the identification of a planting location that were previously missed and allows a visual assessment of the health of the crops following an event such as drought or fire. Benefits can be seen across various stages of the of the forestry operation, with main impacts seen in planning and assessment. The potential benefits of drones can also be seen in the wider agriculture sector. This is possible on a smaller scale with farms in the UK, helping increase the overall crop output and the early identification of crop disease and weeds. Heliguy with our partners at DroneAG offers a comprehensive course on how to utilise drones as a tool on your farm. Head to our page here for more information on the course and see how drones can help increase the output of UK farms. Miro Forestry Company
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