Helicopters came into their own during the early 1950’s, when the true impact of helicopter use for forestry and wildlife became clear. Helicopters have enjoyed their massive success due to their ability to be incredibly versatile and their ability to avoid many of the obstacles that encumber ground based methods, including site sensitivity, ability to rapidly to remove or deliver the product, lack of access, and slope of the terrain. For over 70 years, the use of helicopters in forestry continues to expand.
Advantages of helicopters in the forestry and wildlife industry are:
The number of miles of roads may be reduced.
They can be used on any type of terrain.
Helicopters significantly reduce the impact to the environment because the payloads are lifted vertically.
It is able to move large amounts of equipment and crew members quickly.
Helicopters have always had the advantage over land based vehicles and fixed wing aircraft for rapid response to remote areas. They have been used extensively since World War II for troop and equipment transportation, and have made an incredible impact transporting patients during medical emergencies.
Their ability to put down in the most hostile and remote domain make them invaluable to any forestry and wildlife project. Helicopters are frequently used in inaccessible areas of forests. Additionally, the use of helicopters reduces the level of infrastructure required to log in a specific location, which means this the method also helps to reduce the environmental impact, while simultaneously increasing the productivity in these remote areas.
While their logistical abilities are impressive, helicopters have also solidified their place in the history books for their positive impact on nature.
A helicopter can be used as a non-invasive method to accurately track and count different species of wildlife, survey large pieces of landscape for environmental impact, and also work to prevent natural disasters such as forest fires before they become uncontrollable.
For example, with thanks to modern imaging technology, helicopters are frequently deployed to follow herds of wildlife and track their migration patterns and numbers. Their ability to use heat sensing technology allows them the ability to see through the forest canopy so that they can not only get an accurate count, but also learn more about migration, food supply and how their environment is affecting them.
When these abilities are combined with a helicopter that reaches far beyond the reaches of a land based vehicle, researchers and companies can survey hundreds of miles of landscape and form an accurate portrayal of how industries like forestry, mining and even tourism may be affecting wildlife and the environment.
These photos are from a Hunter Helicopters family day adventure