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Flora and fauna growth rate being monitored as Agri Ministry gets two drones

The Agriculture Ministry on Thursday received two drones as part of an ongoing monitoring project that seeks to identify forest patterns and mangrove growing rates.

The drones handed over by Dr Anthony Cummings of the University of Texas are equipped with special cameras that will aid in the monitoring of those two areas that are critical to Guyana's climate change strategy.

It was explained that this five-year project, proposed jointly by the Hydromet Division and The University of Texas at Dallas,seeks to study the various aspects of land-use and land-cover change in Guyana and its implications for biodiversity, precipitation and climate.

The research will use two primary tenets of tropical forest cover, the presence of large carnivores and their prey, and the presence and experiences of indigenous peoples, to quantify both positive and negative land-use changes and their impacts on Guyana’s biodiversity.

The research will also bring together the success and strengths of past work of the two entities to develop a comprehensive research effort that seeks to establish relationships between the climate systems with anthropogenic activities.

Dr Cummings explained that the project will "develop models to determine exactly how the plants are growing over times…now is the time to begin establishing exactly how much carbon they store as they grow."

National Agriculture Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) CEO, Dr. Oudho Homenauth stated that while there is already some amount of monitoring, the two drones will bring some much needed relief and allow for more regular monitoring.

The two drones have a combined cost of approximately $US2400 and it is expected that more drones will be added to the fleet.