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Finland turns to drones, machine vision tech to map invasive species

Landowners have a duty to eradicate invasive plants classified as harmful, such as lupins, giant balsam and beach rose.

Droonien avulla maastosta etsitään sinne kuulumattomia vieraslajeja.
The environment watchdog hopes to expand the mapping programme. Image: Hanna Juopperi / Yle

The Finnish Environment Institute Syke is developing drone imaging and mapping to detect invasive species.

On Thursday, the environmental watchdog teamed up with the Oulu chapter of ProAgria, a national agricultural advisory and development organisation to demonstrate the use of drone technology for mapping non-indigenous flora and fauna.

Landowners have a duty to eradicate invasive plants classified as harmful. They may include lupins, giant balsam, giant hogweed and beach rose plants.

Photographic material of the landscape recorded will be anaylsed with the assistance of machine vision, a technology that uses single or multiple cameras to inspect and analyse objects automatically.

Syke said that it will be looking to develop the drone imaging and mapping programme for broader use across the country.

The organisation noted that new models and approaches are required to meet national and EU obligations regarding the eradication of invasive species.

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