In this journey towards the future, Big Data, Analytics, Machine Learning, IoT (Internet of Things) and AI are buzzwords that will become more and more prevalent in forestry – and they are already a reality in Brazil’s largest forest companies.
“A forest’s productivity varies according to a great and complex number of combinations rang- ing from climate variables (rain, humidity, light conditions etc.), nourishment, management (activities carried out in the right time and quality level), genetic material, forest threats (fires, pests etc.) and much more. Effectively dissecting the relations between each variable with the goal and impact of each scenario combination over years and years of historical data is only possible with the use of Big Data,” explains Carlos Albuquerque, Inflor’s innovations director.
This, in a nutshell, is the economic potential of Big Data, defined as a great set of stored data, and based on 5 Vs: Velocity, Volume, Variety, Veracity and Value. IoT, on the other hand, is the interconnectivity of onboard technologies, the near omnipresence of web connectivity in every area, tool, equipment and machine, which would be able to exchange information and effectively learn from each other.
With this gigantic database transformed in information available, AI is inserted to help in decision making in such steps as: implementation or regrowth in an area according to its specific his- tory and its consequence in productivity/cost over the next period; the execution (or lack thereof) of handling activities for lowering risks; corrective actions in the case of climate variations or forest threats; anticipating or postponing harvesting; and much more.
According to Albuquerque, these are examples related only to forest productivity, but they may be broadened for different areas of forest production, such as harvesting, by defining the best harvest system and the idea types of machinery according to productivity history and specific forest characteristics such as steepness, average individual volume, type of production and other commercial decisions such as which products must be sold and processed according to the history of sales vs. profitability.
“In a short time, with the evolution of ICT and IoT technologies, we’ll have thousands of sensors distributed in the field for monitoring our forests in real time, that is, greater availability/ quality of information and, con- sequently, ever more effective algorithms for helping the forest production chain in its entirety,” concludes the professional.