Even as the lure of mastering agroforestry practices inspires Virginia Tech students by the dozens to plant trees on Virginia Tech’s 377-acre Catawba Sustainability Center, sky-high drones complement the earthbound digging.

More than four separate research projects involving drones and LIDAR technology touch on water-quality protection, food harvests from fruit and nut trees, wetlands restoration, and more.

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Faculty members central to the projects are:

Entities underwriting the research include the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Virginia Department of Forestry, USDA National Agroforestry Center, the Dominion Foundation, and Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.