- 19-20 November 2014, Rotorua, New Zealand25-26 November 2014, Melbourne, Australia
Without doubt, remote sensing over the last two years has made the most profound impact on how foresters are planning and managing their forest estates.
Over 280 technical foresters attended ForestTECH 2014. The technology series profiled new developments in remote sensing and analytical tools that were coming into the market and were being operationally by local companies.
Results from numerous presentations clearly demonstrated that LiDAR was able to be integrated into a forestry company’s inventory and planning systems. Significant savings could be made over traditional systems, particularly where terrain and drainage was not well understood (for harvesting and road construction planning) and where forest inventory costs were high.
The quality of the data being captured over traditional methods was also vastly superior and technical issues around processing and handling large volumes of data had successfully been overcome.
LiDAR is now firmly incorporated into the forest inventory and management systems of numerous forestry companies.
LiDAR data is now being used by foresters to do measure the maturity and density of a stand, and reliably count trees, making it possible to predict key stand metrics and plan supply chain logistics accurately from the office. Individual tree metrics and maps showing spatial variation in tree stocking have been developed allowing forest managers to accurately predict stocking and tree dimensions.
In addition to LiDAR, there have been significant advances in photogrammetric software. High-resolution DSM and DTM production is no longer the domain of LiDAR scanning.
New generations of satellite imagery (NASA’s GEDI space borne LiDAR satellite, ESA’s Sentinel satellites, emerging companies such as Planet Labs – currently operates the world’s largest satellite constellation, Cloud Processing and Google Earth Engine) are also being evaluated by forestry companies and unmanned aerial vehicles (or UAS) are now opening up a raft of exciting opportunities for forestry companies for improved planning and management.
UAV’s (both multi-rotor and fixed wing) it appears are being trialed locally and already are being used operationally for a number of applications for forest management.
High-resolution monitoring for tree counting, survival assessments, weed and area mapping post establishment, wind row mapping and monitoring change (harvesting, thinning, wind damage, fire, disease / drought) are just some of the uses that are being trialled. UAV’s at this stage are a cost-effective and flexible tool for collecting high-resolution spatial datasets for forestry companies.
For forestry managers and resource foresters, the technology is evolving rapidly.
New satellites with updated technology and sensors are consistently being commissioned, the operational use of airborne and terrestrial LiDAR and a significant reduction in collecting and analysing this data is providing significant benefits operationally to local companies.
ForestTECH 2014 provided an independent platform for local companies to learn about these new technologies.
The 2015 event, ForestTECH 2015 will be showcasing the myriad of mobile Apps that are being developed to assist foresters manage their estate, improve productivity and optimise returns through the wood supply chain.
What was covered?
- Mobile computing to improve forest data collection
- Advances in airborne and terrestrial LiDAR
- Deriving stand level measurements from LiDAR data
- Practical applications of LiDAR for use in forest planning and operations
- Recent advances in photogrammetry for forest management
- Linking remote sensing with GIS stand systems
- Forest information management and decision support tools
- Drones and aerial robotics advancements – applications for forest managers
- Forestry managers
- Forest owners
- Inventory foresters
- Forestry consultants
- Forest GIS remote sensing specialists
- Forest resource planners
- Forest researchers
- Technology and equipment suppliers