Vega Xu


  • Team: New Zealand School of Forestry
  • Role: Lecturer


Your role/position. Lecturer at the New Zealand School of Forestry | Kura Ngahere.

How did you end up working in forestry. I completed a BForSc at the School and then worked in a forestry consulting firm. I was drawn to the diverse nature of forestry consulting and developed a strong interest in the geospatial and remote sensing aspects of forestry. This led me to pursue a PhD focusing on the use of remote sensing in understanding the small-scale plantation forests. After completing my PhD, I continued working at the School and have since been teaching and conducting research in forestry, particularly in the field of geospatial and remote sensing technologies.

What you love about our industry. One of the aspects I particularly enjoy about this industry is working with the people. Despite not being an extrovert, I find great satisfaction in collaborating with kind and supportive individuals in the industry who are willing to share ideas and insights. During my PhD project, I received tremendous support from forest managers, owners, and consultants during the field data collection phase. To this day, I continue to receive support and I am also trying to help wherever I can. It’s a great culture we have in the industry.

How do you use UAVs in your work/what interest do you have in UAVs. We primarily use UAVs for research projects and student projects. The School has three UAVs, including the DJI M300 with an L1 LiDAR sensor. These UAVs have enabled us to undertake various research projects, such as assessing tree growth, estimating biomass, and detecting insect damage. They also provide valuable hands-on experience for our students.

Why do you want to be involved in TFF. Being involved in TFF would allow me to stay informed about the use of UAVs in the industry. This knowledge is beneficial for our tertiary institute as it helps us design our curriculum and opens up opportunities for research collaborations.

What would you like to do through TFF if you were elected onto the committee. If elected onto the committee, I would like to stay updated with the latest developments in UAV usage in the industry. This would allow me to incorporate these advancements into my teaching, ensuring that students are aware of and equipped with knowledge that will be valuable to them as they enter the industry. Additionally, I would appreciate receiving feedback on the teaching content I develop from committee members. Their insights and suggestions would help me refine and improve the educational materials I provide to students.

What do you think that TFF should be focused on. I believe TFF should focus on facilitating the integration of UAVs into the industry. I understand that’s something TFF is already working on. As the use of UAVs has become a routine part of forest management, it is essential for individuals to understand how to best use UAV technologies, as well as the regulations and health and safety considerations involved. TFF would provide an excellent platform for disseminating these important messages to the industry.

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