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Drones to map arctic vegetation

The Arctic is one of the places on earth where vegetation is expected to change most significantly during the next hundred years in consequence of increasing temperatures. Among other changes, researchers expect more shrubs to appear on the Arctic tundra.

Photo: Signe Normand

Associate professor Signe Normand from Department of Bioscience and the Arctic Research Center has just been awarded DKK 4 million from VILLUM FONDEN to develop new methods to gain improved insight into how the vegetation in the Arctic will change.

In the project Signe Normand will use a drone that takes high resolution aerial photos while flying over the vegetation at 150 m height. In this way it will be possible to cover an area of 700,000 m2 – if weather and wind allow.

“This is a giant step compared to previous methods of analysis that have only been able to cover much smaller areas,” says Signe Normand.

The new studies to be initiated in summer 2014 will lead to the development of models predicting the changes to be expected in the arctic vegetation.

Signe Normand was recently award a prestigious prize from L’Oréal and UNESCO that aims to emphasize good role models within scientific research. The honour was accompanied by a DKK 110,000 cheque. Read more: http://scitech.au.dk/en/current-affairs/news/show/artikel/pris-for-forskning-i-vegetationsaendringer-i-tid-og-rum/