5 Best Technologies That Drive The Forestry Industry

In August 8, 2017

Unprecedented technological development in the 21st century has led to its application in a number of fields and the forestry industry is not an exception. Technology has been relied on in the quest for sustainable forestry (recycling, shift from natural forests to plantations, reduced impact logging), biotechnology has been used for the genetic improvement of forests and plant cloning, while biomass conversion technologies have been used to turn biomass into energy. However, its impact on the forestry sector still has not been fully investigated, one of the reasons being that forest researchers are not so tech-savvy. In the similar vein, technological development can be too fast to track all of its impacts and its scope too large to keep an eye on all significant changes.

That’s why we have chosen five best technologies to improve the forestry industry:

1). Geographic Information System (GIS)

Geographic Information System is a computer system used for mapping and geographical analysis by capturing and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface. Because it can make use of any information containing location it improves the process of decision-making as well as communication, so it’s used across multiple industries, including forestry. Data it collects helps to discover: location of endangered species and habitat classification, the size of the forest area and forest cover type. This tool relies on Global Positioning System (GPS) making it suitable to operate with location data such as: latitude, longitude and altitude- each of them used in forest management.

2). Cut-To-Length System

Used primarily in Europe, a cut-to-length system has proven ecological and economic advantages when compared with more traditional harvesting systems. It operates with a harvester topped with a processor head, used to grab a tree and cut it off before it hits the ground. Its main component is a computer, measuring the tree and cut lengths, making it possible to delimb a tree and buck it while it is still gripped by a processor head. After that, a forwarder is used to pick up the logs, load them and remove them from the site (instead of dragging them). The main advantage of this system is that it processes the tree right there, in the woods, causes less damage to other trees, improves personal safety and reduces erosion (by picking up and loading instead of dragging).

3). Nanotechnology And Nanomaterials

Finding its application in multiple fields, nanotechnology has been increasingly used in the forestry sector to improve its products and make them more competitive on the market. There have been attempts to use a wood-based nanomaterial to produce clear reinforced glass (with a hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions). It has already been used in the textile industry to make waterproof and tear-resistant fabrics as well as to produce air filters.

4). Phytoremediation Technology

Phytoremediation refers to the use of woody plants to clean the environment by decontaminating it. Plants are used to “ accumulate toxic metals and organic pollutants from contaminated soils and water for cleanup purposes“ and, as such, they are less invasive than traditional methods (such as landfilling). Phytoextraction removes toxic metals by accumulating them in the biomass of plants while phytodegradation uses plants to degrade the pollutants (these two are the most commonly used forms of phytoremediation).

5). Remote Sensing

This type of technology encompasses a number of different devices and approaches (such as synthetic aperture radar, aerial photography or satellite images) and what they all have in common is that they are used to measure objects by use of a photogramme– without touching them. These methods are able to provide much more detailed images, but their downside is that they are mostly used only regionally and locally (covering only leaf area development) so, in order to improve their efficiency and scope, they should be combined with Geographic Information System and GPS data.

Technological development has been unfolding rapidly, it is needed to enhance sustainability (mainly with respect to climate change), so it is becoming increasingly important to keep an eye on the latest technological trends. Less waste, pollution and environmental impact and more wood and paper, as well as better forest management- that is a demand of modern age and technology we have today is making it possible.

By:  Mia Stokes
Mia Stokes is a freelance blogger writing argumentative essays.
Her main interest is the application of modern technology across multiple fields and industries.