AI Use Case: Forestry

One of the most interesting applications of artificial intelligence relates to forestry assets.

Naturally, forests are of critical importance when it comes to removing carbon from the atmosphere, producing oxygen, and supporting most of the Earth’s biodiversity.  Notably, forests are the major terrestrial ecosystem responsible for the sequestration of carbon, and its storage.

While it has been estimated that a single mature tree can capture approximately 22 kilograms of carbon annually, these estimates are insufficient to measure greenhouse gas compliance programs or carbon offset schemes involving forestry assets.

Advancements in artificial intelligence now provide the ability to verify climate pledges using satellite imagery from space, especially as they pertain to reforestation and afforestation activities.

These images provide deep insight into tracking tree cover and calculating carbon capture.

Satellite imagery is increasingly being evaluated and interpreted by artificial intelligence to measure the density of woodland areas, track the growth of new trees, and measure the amount of CO2 being absorbed in defined physical areas.

When satellite imagery is augmented with other technologies including three-dimensional (ED) laser-scanning Lidar technology on drones, AI applications generate even greater details about the number of trees planted in specific areas, and to identify likely areas of deforestation.

Existing drone technology can enable more than ten hectares of land to be seeded with seedpods in one hour, and these drones include high-definition smart cameras and radar sensors that lead to more fruitful planting strategies to ensure optimal growth and ongoing monitoring.

Mapping and monitoring global forestry assets are crucial activities in understanding how to manage and protect them.

AI-powered algorithms drastically reduce the amount of manual fieldwork required to accurately measure and evaluate forests.

Utilizing AI to identify and monitor forests with strong inherent conservation value and a relatively high carbon stock is a great value-add in leveraging existing forest inventory.

Collectively, AI and these technologies empower critical reforestation and regeneration initiatives that lead to carbon reduction and rebuilding biodiversity.