Selective logging is one of the factors contributing to deforestation and forest degradation in tropical forests. A low-cost methodology to monitor selective logging is clearly required. However, this poses a challenge because only a few trees are felled at a given time. Here, we investigate the potential of using repeatedly acquired digital aerial photographs (DAPs) from a lightweight unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to detect selective logging in tropical forests in Myanmar. Selective logging was conducted within two 9-ha plots. DAPs were acquired immediately before and after selective logging using a lightweight UAV in this case study. The aboveground biomass (AGB) change related to selective logging was regressed against metrics expressing forest changes calculated at a 0.25-ha resolution from a photogrammetric point cloud created using the DAPs before and after selective logging. The root-mean-square error and coefficient of determination were 0.77 and 9.32 Mg/ha, respectively. This study demonstrates that repeated DAPs taken from a lightweight UAV can be used to estimate changes in the AGB linked to selective logging. This method could be used to quantify the impacts of both legal selective logging and illegal logging in tropical forests.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law