Presenter profiles – ForestTECH 2019

30 August 2019

Presenter profiles – ForestTECH 2019 ForestTECH 2019, this region’s annual gathering of resource managers, remote sensing, GIS and mapping specialists, inventory foresters and technology providers into this part of the forestry industry, runs again in November. Full details on the programmes along with details on the four workshops being run in conjunction with this years series, can be found on the event website; This week we profile some of this year’s presentations.

James Saunders, Swift Geospatial Solutions, South Africa

Satellite and location-based services have come a long way in the past few years. They have rapidly become accessible, affordable and easy to manage. Along with a multitude in advances in cloud computing, the forestry industry has seen great benefit in new products which are now affordable and accessible.

By mixing satellite data with on the ground data collection through web connected mobile devices, forestry experts can now get up to the minute data of what is happening on the ground like never before. This approach to forestry management decision support data is being presented by looking at a real-world example.

Matthew Aghai, DroneSeed Co, USA

DroneSeed and its planting technology were recently covered in a previous issue.

Their business model: They are paid per acre as a service to plant tree seeds and spray to protect them. They use drone swarms to revegetate forests and rangelands post-wildfire.

Their current customers: Since 2016 they have been working for three of the five largest timber companies in the US, as well as indigenous land ownerships and non-industrial land owners. They have also signed a contract with The Nature Conservancy for rangeland restoration.

Their technology: They have three pieces of technology they bring to projects to boost survival rates of limited seed:

1. Software to manage a swarm and boost seed survival. They have built the software to manage drone swarms and mission planning in the field. They have also built it to utilise LiDAR and Multi-spectral imagery to build a 3D terrain map and identify micro-sites and terrain features to deliver their seed vessels to targeted areas where they can connect with soil.

2. Hardware to manage economics. A single drone is the world’s most expensive backpack sprayer. A group of drones can carry payloads competitive with small helicopters, each carrying 57lbs of payload. They also built the on the charging trucks and hardware to allow teams to operate like NASCAR pit crews and keep drones in the air more of the day boosting unit economics.

3. Seed vessels to boost seed survival. They have worked with nursery supply chain leaders to develop several tools that fit each species or biome. This means they have four seed vessels including: pelleting, capsules, or more advanced fibre-based micro-site enhancing projectiles. They avoid a 1-size fits all and match the difficulty of edaphic conditions with considerations of seed biology to optimize survival rate per acre.

They are notable as they are leading the space: They are the first and only company FAA approved to use heavy lift swarms of up to 5 aircraft, each carrying 57lbs.

Dan Kluskiewicz, Northwest Management, Inc, USA

ALS-assisted single-tree forest inventories present a wealth of opportunity for more productive and efficient forest management. They will be presenting on a collaborative effort between NMI, Interpine and partners in the SMART Forest Solutions team to construct an accurate single-tree inventory in a 20,000 hectare study area in eastern Arizona, US.

This enables the full potential of this detailed inventory with a combination of individual-tree growth and log-merchandising for sawmill management to be exploited. They will demonstrate the predictive capability of their methods for individual-tree and stand-level forest attributes, and discuss actionable information that they and their partners used this inventory to produce.

Andrew Kemsley, Forestry Corporation NSW, Australia

After having undergone a Remote Pilots Licence course and been issued a UAV – now what? More and more companies are issuing UAVs with often little direction given to the recipients. Hear from a forester’s down to earth experiences, inspiring you to utilise this technology more often in day to day forest use. As he shares his tips obtained through trial and error you will walk away with the bare bones essentials for better navigating the forest environment and the range of tools to assist better forest management.