The use of drones for environmental monitoring is becoming increasingly prevalent. As well as being used to monitor crop health or erosion, they can be used to monitor phenomena such as methane emissions from landfills. This project will use drones as basis for a novel technique to monitor biodiversity restoration and colonisation within inaccessible quarry areas.
Batts Combe Quarry provides an unusual set of conditions that makes this project possible: quarry benches that are accessible for both conventional biodiversity survey and drone-based survey; areas that have been actively restored to scrub and woodland or to calcareous grassland; and, sources of propagules east and west of the site that enable natural colonisation.
By being able to directly compare species abundance estimates derived from the same sites using conventional (quadrat-based) and drone-based imagery survey techniques it will be possible to determine the accuracy and ease of use that this novel technique could provide.
Overall this project will enable the evaluation of a novel, safe and potentially time-saving technique to survey species restoration and colonisation in normally inaccessible quarry locations. The data derived from such a technique could inform restoration and management of biodiversity in quarry sites.