Drones are now advanced enough for the forest

Drones have been attracting more and more attention at Elmia’s recent forestry fairs. Until now they’ve belonged to the future but at Elmia Wood 2017 they’ve moved from vision to being a useful tool for the forest industry.

Drones in practical use at Elmia Wood.

At the fair, the drones – or UAVs and UASs as they are called professionally – have their own section, the Drone Zone. It contains a large tent with some 15 exhibitors plus an area for aerial demonstrations.

“There’s a lot of interest – it feels as if forest owners are seeing the possibilities,” says

Urban Wahlberg, who is in charge of the section.

Also present is Anton Holmström of the Swedish Forest Agency. He demonstrated the drone that the authority has been using in its inspection work for some time now.

Briefly, the advantage of drones is that they save walking and diesel in the forest. From 120 metres in height, forest owners, authorities and contractors get an unbeatable overview of a site. A drone can also be programmed to automatically patrol a specified area, for instance to discover windthrow. Instead of walking or driving through large areas, you can go directly to the place where something requires your attention.

What drone technology can be used for is determined by the sensors. Currently these are mainly ordinary cameras or IR cameras. In the future drones might be used for everything from mapping growth to tracking insect pests. The only limit is our imagination.

One of the questions asked during the fair was whether drones can be used to track wild boars. Currently no functioning applications exist but it is within the realm of possibility.

Published
6/8/2017
Images
Anton Holmström demonstrates the drone used by the Swedish Forest Agency in its inspection work.
Anton Holmström demonstrates the drone used by the Swedish Forest Agency in its inspection work.
Elmia Wood 2017 is the fair where drones have gone from being a futuristic vision to a useful tool in forestry.
Elmia Wood 2017 is the fair where drones have gone from being a futuristic vision to a useful tool in forestry.
Drones in practical use at Elmia Wood.
Drones in practical use at Elmia Wood.