Conservation Drones

Suriname is one of the smallest countries in South America but it still has large tracts of undisturbed forests and rich wildlife. It is also the least densely populated countries in the world with 95% of this population concentrated in the capital city of Paramaribo.

The interior is uninhabited and covered with undisturbed tropical forest, making Suriname one of the best places for conservation. Suriname has an axcellent protected area network, and plans are under way to expand it even further.

Suriname's diverse fauna includes at least 674 species of birds, 200 species of mammals, 130 species of reptiles, 99 species of amphibians, more than 300 freswater fish and at least 50 species of brackish water fish.

The Central Suriname Nature Reserve (CSNR) established in 1998, covers 1.6 million hectares of pristine tropical rainforest in Suriname.
Recognised as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO for its biodiversity richness, the fauna and flora of this protected area remains largely to be inventoried. The complex geological and physical formations of the area is difficult to monitor and thus, CSNR is a challenge to make an efficient forest management plan and to identify the pressure of human activities on the reserve ecosystem health such as logging and mining. It is especially a problem as the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Land and Forest Management (RGB) lack of manpower and financial resources.
Management of the reserves and enforcement of legislation is a challenge as the areas are vast and illegal activities are difficult to detect. Wildlife conservation is costly, and time- and labor-consuming. 

Project goals

The objective of this pilot project is to support the Nature Conservation Division (NCD) within the government by monitoring the CSNR in order to identify the priorities for action in terms of management of the area.
Conservation drones will be useful to capture detailed high-resolution images of objects on the ground and complete database on species populations, on the health of habitats and on poaching activities.
Conservation drones are an effective new tool being used in other countries to combat wildlife crime.
Conservation drones are cheap and simply made. At the core, they are model aircrafts fitted with autopilot systems. Each contains a small computer chip equipped with a GPS, barometric altimeter and other sensors, and carries a payload such as a video or photographic camera. The software allows a user to program the drone easily on an open-source Google Maps interface, and the drone even lands itself. All told, one drone costs no more than a decent laptop.


CI Suriname will provide the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Land and Forest Management (RGB)  two fixed-wing drone systems and relevant trainings to start up drone capacity for monitoring CSNR. The finality of the project is to produce a drone monitoring plan for CSNR.

Conservation Drones will enable the Nature Conservation Division to:


What are Conservation Drones?

Conservation Drones are low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used for:

 Conservation Drones are capable of: