Forest rangers in the southern province of Dong Nai no longer have to walk far to patrol forests thanks to the help of drones.
Forest rangers in the southern province of Dong Nai check drones before use. — Photo laodong.vn
Since January 2019, four forest management units have been equipped with drones, cameras and binoculars to better identify forest fires and protect wild animals using technology.
The drones were mobilised using funds from the State budget.
Dong Nai Province is home to nearly 198,000ha of forest area, one of the largest in the country.
At the peak of dry season this year, almost all forests in the province have faced extremely high risk of fire.
In March 2020 alone, drones helped forest rangers identify and extinguish more than 1,000 forest fire locations.
According to Nguyen Ngoc Phuong from the provincial Forest Management Agency, the drones can fly up to 500m and supervise a radius of 8km from above. They act as eyes of forest rangers to identify fires, deforestation and other activities that might harm wild animals.
Doan Van Dai, head of Suoi Cop forest protection station in Vinh Cuu District, said it took forest rangers an hour to walk 4km of forest. Now, thanks to the drones, the rangers only need to sit in front of the screens to follow footage which can cover the whole forest in only 20 minutes.
“If we spot any forest fires or anyone suspected of destroying the forest, we let the drones fly lower, take photos and identify the locations. Forest rangers will head to these locations to check or catch the violators on the spot,” Dai told Vietnam News Agency.
Le Viet Dung, deputy head of the provincial Forest Protection Agency, said the drones are used to manage wild animals, especially elephants.
Forest elephants have recently been reported to attack residential areas and local gardens, damaging plants and crops grown by local people.
The forest managers have used drones to trace elephants and built electric fences to prevent the elephants’ attacks.
“Using drones in forest management is very effective because the forest rangers can observe large areas, especially in mountainous terrain, which is difficult to physically reach,” Dung said. VNS
It is forecast that climate change will increase the risk of forest fires next year, therefore concerned organisations should be vigilant and prepare for fire prevention and control.
Despite the PM’s decision on forest closure, the Central Highlands' forests are shrinking every day because of illegal logging.