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How digital data is enhancing global forestry

 Thursday, November 3, 2022

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The current paradigm is insufficient to address the issues posed by forestry and climate change. Forests are key in fighting off climate change because of their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. It is no secret that the planet’s sustainability is critically dependent on the proper development, regeneration and harvesting of forests. We require scaled-up insights about the world’s forests in order to manage our forests for a more sustainable future. This necessitates digitising these enormous analogue environments. The management of forest inventories and the production of wood-based products are two industries that can benefit from improved data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI).

Three important pillars are responsible for sustainable forestry, namely : circular economics, carbon offsetting and biodiversity. Finding a balance between the three is crucial, but so is the capacity to use data to assess progress in each area.

Circular economics must be more effective : Better analytics boost performance in harvesting, production, and recycling. Sustainable forestry, for instance, depends on having greater understanding of harvest volumes, locations, and timings as well as producing only what the market demands. It has been demonstrated that increasing the value of forests and focusing just on the wood resources that producers require can increase forest owners’ profits by up to 7%.

Carbon offsetting must be trustworthy : The market for voluntary carbon trading is expanding quickly, but enterprises that take part face reputational risk if they declare carbon neutrality based on credits that cannot be validated by actual environmental conditions. Modern technology is essential for tracking carbon-capture projects to ensure they accomplish the expected, climate-saving effects and to demonstrate to the ecosystem of interested parties — businesses, regulators, NGOs, and the general public. Utilising current scientific and technological resources is necessary for this tracking.

Biodiversity must be quantifiable : To build natural resilience against the effects of climate change, it is crucial to promote diverse forest conditions that support a more sustainable planet. In order to create fast-growing forests, single-species tree afforestation was frequently done in the past. To ensure the survival of animal habitats and preserve the diversity of life, such projects must incorporate additional, indigenous species at various phases of development. All efforts at forestation must be rigorously monitored and verified in order to live up to their claims. This necessitates integrating biodiversity-related goods into routine forest management, such as species mix and keystone species.

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