Documenting Permaculture Farm Landscapes in The Philippines Using a Drone with a Smartphone
In book: Methodologies Supportive of Sustainable Development in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management: Selected Cases in Southeast Asia
Chapter: 5, pp. 71-86
Publisher: Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)
Download for FREE: https://www.searca.org/pubs/books?pid=472
The emergence of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones has led to their widespread use in agriculture by scientists and farmers for the purposes of mapping, monitoring, and landscape management. However, the high cost of drones, together with the risk and difficulty of flying any drone, has marginalized the small-scale farmers from exploring the potential of the UAV technology appropriate to their context. In this report, we aim to introduce a simple documentation methodology to small-scale permaculture farmers using a budget-friendly drone that would promote permaculture design, agroecological farm management, and stimulate environmental awareness. The study developed a 10-step methodology based on experience in the field that maximizes the features of the drone. Originally intended as an entry-level UAV, the Ryze Tello was used as a documentation tool to generate baseline data on farm biodiversity and system component interactions as well as landscape heterogeneity. Using aerial photos from the drone’s built-in camera, the researchers were able to gather valuable data in four (4) small-scale permaculture farms in the Philippines. Collecting such data would enable farmers to observe and interpret both anthropogenic and natural patterns and processes occurring throughout the year. The results of the study suggest the development of more drones like the Tello with improved features in the near future to empower more farmers to make design-based decisions that would ensure both farm productivity and ecosystem health.