Just like with agriculture, where farmers need to know the condition of their crops and lands to increase efficiency, forestry (the fragile cultivation of forests and hillocks) also needs to know the health of trees and their environments to enhance usability. Data such as moisture, diameter of tree trunks, temperature, and rainfall help to maximize efficiency and sustainability of the trade. All of the above is essential but very difficult to manage with vast and extensive forests and mountains.
Thinking of this impasse, Brazilian forest engineer, Esthevan Gasparoto, has cofounded Treeva, a start-up that intends to create a connection between forests and the Internet of Things (IoT). For such an endeavor to succeed, Gasparoto and his team have developed a sensor that must be installed on tree trunks in order to monitor its growth. As recognition to his effort, Esthevan has been deemed a winner in the Latin American Innovators Under 35 from the MIT Technology Review LATAM edition.
His system, named SmartForest, procures information such as which forests are growing and when. This way, the engineer explains, Treevia allows only for the same quantity of trees that are growing to be logged, guaranteeing sustainability within forest exploitation. SmartForest automates the process and makes it safer (in tropical zones like those of the Brazilian rainforests, there is a great amount of peril in the jungle). Before this system was developed, everything had to be done manually, one tree at a time. Through the online monitoring of Treevia, “you can collect a lot more information than the traditional way, therefore making better decisions," Gasparoto points out. Endorsing the customary action of taking data once a year, the young engineer points out, “We can see how forests are growing, measure the carbon intake parameters, and look at all the numbers in real time.”
SmartForest measures the diameter and volume of the trees as well as important environmental conditions such as temperature, moisture and rainfall, among others. The data also contributes in voicing the impact climate change has on the development of forests, canopies, and all wooded areas. Important trades such as planted forest producers, wood pulp, and cellulose industries as well as research centers use Esthevan's online sensors to know the condition of the trees.
The SmartForest High Precision Sensor is the latest advancement and is destined to aid forest research with more precise and more frequent data capture, while SmartForestAgility is a product geared for industrial fields and wood producer usage.
For María de Lourdes Velázquez, director of the Telecommunications Department for The National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and member of the jury for the 2019 Latin American Innovators Under 35, “the solution given by Gasparoto is very clever and is already having a very high social and economical impact.”