Keith Cressman

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Bio Data

1981: BSc. degree in Biology from Willamette University, OR (USA)

1981-1983: Peace Corps volunteer in Plant Protection, Tunisia

1983-1985: USDA APHIS/ARS pink bollworm, Phoenix, AZ (USA)

1985-1987: MSc. degrees in International Agriculture Development and in Plant Protection from Univ California, Davis, California (USA)

1988-1989: UN FAO locust information and control, Khartoum, Sudan

1989-present: UN FAO Senior Locust Forecasting Officer, Rome, Italy (HQ)


Some 16 million sq. km of remote desert that stretch from West Africa to India and includes some of the world’s poorest countries are regularly monitored for Desert Locust by national ground teams. Monitoring constitutes the primary activity in any locust early warning and preventive control system. Although satellite-based estimates of rainfall and green vegetation are utilised to reduce and prioritize these large and potentially suitable areas, imagery suffer from omission errors and are often not available in time. Aerial surveys are usually not possible due to high costs and unavailable aircraft. Other areas cannot be checked due to remoteness or insecurity. Drones could potentially guide ground teams to green vegetation and locust infestations and improve the quality of surveys and early treatment of Desert Locust in three ways: long-distance survey for green vegetation, identify locust concentrations and extent of green vegetation at potentially infested area, and control. Technical challenges include long-distance, solar power, detection, on-board data processing and sustainability.