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A digital forest? The future is coming!

3 May 2021

What if technologies could be installed permanently within forest environments? And what if this enabled our forests to function like ‘smart cities’, where equipment is continuously used to support optimal management of the surroundings?

The latest episode of the WoodChat series of podcasts considers exactly that! Listeners will hear how advanced technologies are currently being used in Tasmania to monitor the nests of at-risk wedge-tailed eagles, in what could be the first step towards developing a ‘fully networked’ forest.

The results of this work will be used to improve the industry’s understanding of the effectiveness of current protocols that guide forest management practices for the protection of this species. The data collected will help determine whether new or adapted approaches could better protect the animals and minimise the impact on forestry operations.

A ‘networked’ or ‘digital’ forest will collect and broadcast this sort of data in an ongoing capacity and in real-time data, before beaming it to forest managers who can then use it to inform better decision making. During the episode hosts Sam and Georgia speak to Dr Dean Williams, Manager, Forest Management Services, Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

Dr Williams describes a fully networked forest as one in which multiple points are used to collect information about various conditions, from wildlife to environmental, weather, vehicles, and fuel moisture levels. During the episode, he discusses his current work with wedge-tailed eagles, and the possibilities a networked forest could hold for the future.

“It’s all about being better informed about what’s going on in the forest,” explained Dr Williams.“Whether your objectives are conservation, wood production, or a combination of both, using technology to gather quality information to make the best decisions you can offers advantages for all.”

You can listen to WoodChat on viewed via this link.

Source: FWPA

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