Monitoring Tea Farms with Drones
Malawi is mostly an agricultural-based economy dependent on natural resources whose availability and stability cannot always be guaranteed. Recently, this area has seen a growth in human population, hence an increased demand for firewood and other resources. Deforestation, shifting cultivation, and in some cases, livelihoods have been affected by poor agricultural practices. Thyolo is one of Malawi's largest tea-growing districts, with an extensive area dedicated to this purpose. It's also within the top 5 most populated districts in the country.
As the plains of Thyolo glitter with the greenness of the tea estates and wild trees, a significant contrast exists with the local people's residential areas. Humanity has cleared a large proportion of its trees in search of arable land and settlement. It turns out a safe haven for wild birds and other animals relies on these tea estates.
Our Crowddroner Bauleni captured this map in Thyolo, Malawi, to show the greenness of the tea estates and wild trees in the area. You can notice how the tea farm is divided into equal squares to facilitate farming. Drone data provides imagery with very high resolution, up to 1 cm/px, to allow seeing such details. Such imagery is used to monitor the status of these farms, provide the owner with insights to make decisions, and increase the effectiveness of farming practices.
I believe it should be the local people at the helm of conservation and restoration efforts. Initiatives like GLOBHE's drones for sustainable forestry and urban greening allowed me to conduct my first field survey since becoming a certified drone pilot, demonstrating the beauty nature brings when well conserved.