Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September 2017 as a Category 4 storm causing major damage to infrastructure, agriculture and natural ecosystems, as well as the loss of many lives. Among the crops hardest hit was coffee, one of the most important crops in Puerto Rico. As a perennial system, coffee takes various production forms along a gradient from high shade/biodiversity coffee farms to low shade coffee monocultures and therefore offers an ideal means for the study of resistance and resilience of an agroecosystem to weather and climate disturbance. During the summer of 2018, 14 impacted farms across the production style gradient ranging in size from 10 to 100 acres were surveyed by a variety of UASs in order to investigate how a major weather disturbance affects production, biomass, biodiversity, and the recovery of each. All of the coffee farms were located within complex terrain and on the sides of mountains. This work addresses the flight challenges faced during the field campaign that include quickly changing terrain and tree canopies, limited launch and recovery areas, remote farms with limited access that was further exacerbated by storm damage, and mountain induced weather that produced complex flow patterns.
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Scholarly Commons Citation
Adkins, K. (2019). UAS Flight Operations in Complex Terrain: Assessing the Agricultural Impact from Hurricane Maria in the Central Mountainous Region of Puerto Rico. , (). Retrieved from https://commons.erau.edu/publication/1342