The loss of forests is a crisis for the climate stability of our planet. Moreover, this loss threatens biodiversity. In 2020, when everything slowed down or even stopped due to the pandemic, forest decline accelerated. We are talking about the territory of tropical virgin forests, where deforestation has grown by more than 10% compared to 2019.
Climate change in 2020 has also caused significant losses of forests. Forests suffer from various extreme weather events. The Amazon rainforest is now burning not only where deforestation has recently occurred, but also inside. In addition to trees, wetlands are also burning.
Loss of forests and global warming create drier and warmer conditions that promote pests and make forests more vulnerable to fires. Forest fires lead to massive carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Thus, we find ourselves in a vicious circle that can only be broken by stopping deforestation and moving on to a zero-emissions strategy in other spheres of human activity.
Promising Tech Innovations For Future of Forestry
Technologies such as forestry management software, for example, can help us with forest care and conservation and hold Future of Forestry. Here you can find out about other innovations that will contribute to the conservation and restoration of forests in the future.
According to the goals set, the concept of forest management includes a range of activities aimed at the care, conservation, and use of forest resources according to the specified purposes (biological, botanical, economic). In modern silviculture, these activities are carried out using precision forestry principles and technologies. Forest management can be divided into five sectors: site-specific management, pest and disease monitoring, fire monitoring, water management, and mechanized forestry.
Site-specific management means that the maintenance and conservation of the forest are carried out following regulations based on the needs of the particular site. These guidelines apply to drainage, fertilization, and other procedures. The conditions of the site are determined based on data from soil sensors.
Pests and diseases monitoring help detect and respond promptly to potential outbreaks. Monitoring is carried out using special software and UAVs. It gives a possibility to reduce damage to the forest significantly. According to research, remote sensing with UAVs helps detect outbreaks of potential threats with an accuracy of 95%.
Remote sensing is also a forest fire monitoring tool. This type of monitoring presupposes early detection and coordination of measures to extinguish fires. Thus, it is also possible to reduce the damage caused to the forest and its inhabitants.
Today we also have systems that allow managing the water resources of the forest. People engaged in forest management can plan and control water infrastructure, including intake gates and irrigation. All activities and decisions are based on soil moisture sensors data, accurate weather forecasts, and data on the water level in the canal. Such systems give us an excellent opportunity to reduce the risk of flood damage to forests.
Innovation is also making a significant contribution to improving timber delivery. It’s about improving safety and reducing waste. Timber loading can be done remotely using reloading cranes. In this way, injuries from falling logs can be avoided entirely. Technology also makes it possible to optimize timber logistics, a must for the Future of Forestry.
Managing the centralized dispatch of trucks and other elements of the transport infrastructure makes it possible to reduce the cost of deliveries. The US company was able to use the optimization tool to reduce the cost of supplying timber to its plants by 2.5%. Several Swedish companies have reported a 5% reduction in transport costs.
Digital technologies are also opening up new possibilities for inventory and harvesting. Their use allows you to increase the yield and yield of varieties. In addition to increasing efficiency, digital technologies can help reduce harvest waste. Remote sensing instruments and in-forest devices are used to measure growing inventory. The implementation of digital technologies helps to reduce the risk of inventory errors and significantly speed up the task in general.
Mechanized harvesting systems increase safety and control over the process. In addition, the use of technology raises labour productivity in forestry. For example, with the help of mechanized systems, the Swedish industry has doubled productivity since the early 1990s.
Yet such systems still have room for improvement. Research shows that harvester sensors do not always accurately measure logs. As a result, 3 to 4%of the most valuable part of the tree (sawlogs) is converted to pulp unnecessarily.