How Drones Will Help the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is home to some of the worlds most complex and fascinating ecosystems
The Amazon rainforest is home to some of the world's most complex and fascinating ecosystems | © Brazilian things / WikiCommons
Sarah Brown

Despite heavy deforestation, the Amazon rainforest is vast. Scientists have searched for an effective way to calculate the degree of human impact on the world’s largest tropical jungle while minimizing potential criminal activity. The solution? Combining technology and conservation by using drones.

Drones can help survey remote corners of the Brazilian Amazon forest that people can’t easily reach to monitor it far more efficiently. They’re being tested as a way to improve surveillance options in the Amazon rainforest and could be the best solution so far for monitoring the vast areas of land.

Equipped with high-resolution cameras with infrared technology, the drones can pick up images in real time at any time of day, allowing researchers to avoid sending teams of workers through dense and remote parts of the forest. This also allows for easier and more accurate calculations in regards to the size of areas of deforestation, which is currently estimated manually. The multi-functional cameras come with sensors that can map out pieces of land in the forest, such as areas where the trees have been cut down.

The Amazon rainforest is home to some of the world’s most complex and fascinating ecosystems

Drones can also be used to detect criminal activity and illegal logging. At the moment, the location of criminal bases is verified either by teams of agents or by aircraft, which presents several problems in regard to the agents’ safety and the noise of the planes unwittingly alerting the criminals to their presence. The quiet drone overcomes that issue and also ensures agents are kept out of potential danger.

The drone project is being led by coordinator André Alamino at the Inspection Coordination (COFIS) of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio). The institute is currently preparing the drones for the test phase and considering in which ways the drones can play a part in conservation management. Once the internal regulations have been approved, the drones will be ready to use in 2019.

An aerial view of the Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest endures daily destruction that threatens its existence as well as the wildlife that lives there. One of the main problems is deforestation, which reduces biodiversity, impacts on climate change, destroys habitat, and breaks up indigenous communities. The most common reason for deforestation is to create more room for agriculture, especially for beef and soybean. Development projects, such as hydroelectric dams and highways, also threaten huge areas of the jungle, especially when local laws become weaker in times of political turmoil. Additionally, changes in climate temperatures encourage more wildfires. And areas in the jungle where there’s mahogany and gold are often subjected to both legal and illegal exploitation.

Centralized programs are working to change this and there are several projects and organizations working to preserve the forest. The Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) program is hoped to be running by 2020 and will conserve an area of the forest the size of Portugal and Spain combined. If the test phase for the drones in 2019 is a success, they may help to play a crucial part in making this program work.

There are many endangered species in the Amazon rainforest

The use of drones in conservation has been successful in other projects in Brazil, including monitoring trails and tracks in national parks, mapping out dam damage, and detecting areas destroyed by wildfires. The drones that will be used in the Amazon will need to be controlled by specifically trained pilots – the cost of one is around R$50,000 (US$13,200).

Drone-usage is one way to help protect the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. Another way to help protect South America’s jungle is to promote ecotourism, which boosts the economy and encourages locals to engage in tourism practices for an income instead of activities that cause harm to the forest. Although responsible tourism in the Amazon is still a fledgling market, it’s slowly growing with activities such as group tours to search for river dolphins growing in popularity and helping conservation efforts at the same time.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.


Keen to explore the world?

Our passionately curated premium small-group trips are an invitation to connect with like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences.