In the period from 20 to 22 April 2021, the Public Institution for the management of protected parts of nature and the ecological network of Virovitica-Podravina County in Croatia in cooperation with the company Prehnit from Zagreb, as part of the implementation of the DaRe to Connect project, conducted training Application of drones in the analysis of ecosystem services and mapping of ecological corridors with the participation of employees.
On the first day of the training, participants were introduced to the rules of flying a drone, the basic principles of management, their obligations and responsibilities. After completing the Training of Remote Pilots course for subcategories A1 / A3 of the open category, the participants successfully passed the exam for the mentioned subcategories prescribed by the Croatian Civil Aviation Agency (CCAA).
On the second day of the training, a field survey was conducted by drone. For that purpose, a mission was made with the help of which a drone filmed the area of the Monument of Park Architecture - Park in Slatina. According to the obtained images, a digital elevation model and a 3D view of the area were made. Special emphasis was placed on the Monument of Park Architecture Mamutovac (Sequoia gigantea Decs.) in Slatina. A 3D model of this imposing tree, the largest representative of Conifer on Earth, was made. This species, native to California during the Tertiary, was widespread throughout Europe.
On the third day, the field part of the training was done in the park of the Drava Story Visitor centre, and then the data and recordings collected in the field were analysed. The QGIS program was used for this purpose. Participants are introduced to tools for network analysis and maintenance of network datasets (calculation of the shortest or fastest way, range calculation), work with databases (network services, browsers), creating atlases and analysing maps in a geographic information system according to given criteria, development and by visualizing basic maps.
With a three-day training, participants successfully mastered the application of drones in the analysis of ecosystem services and mapping of ecological corridors.
With this course, the employees of the Public Institution for the management of protected parts of nature and the ecological network of Virovitica-Podravina County acquired knowledge that will be used in future research. With the help of drones, it is possible to capture areas that cannot be accessed, thus obtaining important information about the state of the ecosystem in a particular area. By analysing the collected images, it is possible to determine the areas of activity where upcoming activities can be carried out for preservation or restoration. After the collected data, further analysis is possible in geoinformation systems and can make maps or atlases of recorded areas, but also certain areas that would serve as ecological corridors to better preserve the value of ecosystems and related services.