In a unique collaborative project the Audi Environmental Foundation, with project partners from the Geography Department of the Heidelberg University of Education, the Nature Conservation Society of the Rural Region of Karlsruhe, the Bad Schönborn Homeland, Nature and Environmental Workgroup (AHNU) and the district of Bad Schönborn have come together for an innovative project that will use geo-technology innovatively to develop recommendations for the care of the orchards.
Individual drones will fly at regular intervals over the mixed orchards of the district of Bad Schönborn. Their task will be working and reporting as nature conservationists. The drones will be controlled by geographers of Heidelberg University of Education who will then evaluate the images scientifically to propose recommendations for the best care of the orchards. This will lead to long-term diversity of the fruit population of the Baden-Württemberg district and will also result in conservation of the habitat of native animals.
Traditionally mixed orchards comprise fruit trees of various species and varieties. For example more than 20 types of fruit including apple, pear and stone-fruit grow in Bad Schönborn. This natural diversity also forms the habitat for numerous native insects. Modern fruit plantations, however, are often laid out as monocultures and can be managed industrially and more easily.
Hence the first step for the drones is to be able to identify the type of tree being monitored. The drones then record the health and care status of the plants and enter this data in an interactive geographical database.
“The Bad Schönborn mixed orchard project combines the application of modern technology with environmental considerations and the conservation of local diversity of species. It therefore brings together exactly those elements that are essential for the work of our foundation,” stated Rüdiger Recknagel, Director of the Foundation.
The aim of this overview is to recommend and incorporate customized measures for the protection and maintenance of the trees. The project is scheduled to run for three years presently.