Date:  January 28 – February 1, 2019

Location: Tiputini Biodiversity Station, Tiputini River, Orellana Province, elevation 220 – 235 m a.s.l.

The Tiputini Biodiversity Station (TBS) is a biological field station that stewards 638 hectares of primary lowland rainforest, and is managed by the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. TBS is situated on the north bank of the Tiputini River, a southern tributary of the Napo River within the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve. The vast expanses of “terra firme” forests and temporarily flooded forests protect one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, where we encounter world richness records for amphibians, reptiles, bats and trees1.

The fieldwork of NUNA scientists at TBS consisted in flying drones equipped with HD, NDVI and NIR cameras2, in order to map the area and calculate the vegetation biomass. This will help us understand the amount of carbon stored in the vegetation, analyze tree species that dominate the forest canopy and will also produce amazing high-definition videos of this pristine area. All this information may be used for long-term monitoring to understand potential modifications of the forest caused by climate change.


1 – Bass MS, Finer M, Jenkins CN, Kreft H, Cisneros-Heredia DF, et al. (2010) Global Conservation Significance of Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park. PLoSONE 5(1): e8767. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008767

2 – Cameras equipped with these sensors help estimate NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index). This index quantifies vegetation by measuring the difference between near-infrared light (NIR), which is strongly reflected by vegetation, and red light, which vegetation absorbs. NDVI is frequently used in environmental sciences, agriculture and forestry to determine the amount of vegetation, estimate its health, identify crops threatened by pests, and even monitor drought conditions.