Drones Sierra Leone Reforestation Undertaking

Drones deployed in Sierra Leone Reforestation Project

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

A Sierra Leone-based pilot project is set to utilize drone-based remote sensing and data management technologies for the verification and monitoring of reforestation programs.

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Sierra Leone has lost over 30% of its tree cover since 2000, and has little in ways of funds with which to create new forests. At COP26, the Government of Sierra Leone committed to planting 25 million trees by 2030 over 960,000 HA.

“Our challenge in Sierra Leone is mitigating the already severe impact of climate change, without a means of covering the costs. It’s an equation that means we need to pioneer technology that will sequester carbon in ways that access finance,” said Environment Minister Foday Jaward.

In collaboration with the Government of Sierra Leone, not-for-profit organization Crown Agents and drone specialist UAVaid are partnering with UK Aid’s Frontier Technologies program to examine potential use cases for technology that will inspire confidence from investors in the community-based forest carbon market .

The pilot project will take place in north-eastern Sierra Leone, where the team has partnered with local conservation and community development organization Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary (TCS). The project will utilize new programmatic and technological approaches to support sustainable reforestation, put local communities in charge of the replanted forests, and leverage advanced drone technology for monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV). Each individual planted tree will be geo-tagged and monitored by long range drones, resulting in a remotely accessible verification mechanism. This mechanism will assume uncertainties surrounding investments in rural Africa, where visibility can be difficult due to infrequent and expensive monitoring.

“Faced with a fragmented carbon-offset market, this is a transformative technology that will give us unprecedented access to the success of reforestation efforts over time. While use of remote sensing to determine land use is not new, the ability to track the status of individual trees will provide more accurate data to quantify the expected amount of carbon captured. It will provide stakeholders and investors with real time reporting on successes, payment benchmarks, and required operations and maintenance to sustain forest health,” said Habiba Wurie, Country Director for Crown Agents in Sierra Leone.

“We see the integration of specialized drone technology and data fusion providing a solution to the challenges of reforestation verification and monitoring, with the potential to unlock large scale investment in replanting initiatives,” said UAVaid co-founder Daniel Ronen. “In partnering with UKAid, Crown Agents and TCS on this ground-breaking initiative, we look forward to working to deliver a mechanism for sustainable investment into areas of rural Africa which will provide livelihoods as well as supporting global net-zero and COP goals. ”

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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