First drone-based measurement of ruminant methane emissions in Africa

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Flying a mere nine metres above the grasslands at Kapiti, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)’s research station and wildlife conservancy, a drone not only took pictures of the landscape and livestock inhabitants, but was also measuring methane emissions from herds of ruminants (camels, goats, cows and sheep that digest plant-based food in a specialized stomach, resulting in methane production as a byproduct).

This was the first time that a drone was used to measure emissions from livestock on the African continent.

This pioneer research project, made possible by the Eranet project CircAgric-GHG, is led by Vibeke Lind and partnered with ILRI’s Mazingira Centre.

Although the project aims to evaluate the relationship between livestock system nutrient circularity and greenhouse gas emissions, it also includes a remote sensing component that is exploring new measurement technologies.

Photo: Boran cow at ILRI’s Kapiti Research Station (ILRI/Paul Karaimu)

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