Press release

What can digitalization offer the forestry and wood industry?

April 20, 2022
  • Study: Opportunities have been identified, but there is still plenty of development potential
  • From forest monitoring to control systems for harvesters
  • Wide range of solutions at INTERFORST, July 17 to 20, 2022

A better way to plan, respond, communicate, market: Digitalization is becoming part of the business strategy for forests and wood through digital terrain models, simulated growth processes, sensor technology for measuring the forest status, and connecting participants in the value chain. Exhibitors at INTERFORST 2022 (July 17 to 20, 2022) in Munich will showcase portfolios with solutions for IT and digitalization in forestry.

The development potential is far from exhausted: A study recently published by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Rohholz e.V. shows that many aspects of the digital value chain are still in the implementation stage. There is awareness among many players in the forest and wood industry: In fact, 94 percent of respondents say they are open to digitalization. Particular advantages are expected in paperless data management, transport cost optimization, a just-in-time flow of goods, and improved machine utilization.

Digital tools outside the machines are not yet widespread, especially in timber harvesting, mainly due to insufficient mobile network coverage and a lack of standards in forestry/wood communication. But overall, even in the tradition-conscious forest and wood sector, digitalization is already in the implementation stage when it comes to shaping processes: 31 percent of those surveyed say that digitalization is already a fixed component of their business strategy, and 61 percent are pursuing individual digital projects.

Forestry of the future thanks to data

When selecting an appropriate digital solution or planning future investments in digital technology, visitors to INTERFORST 2022 can set their own priorities. Optimized sensors and improved networking can be used in forest monitoring to provide data points as a basis for informed decisions. Drone-based systems with LiDAR data (light detection and ranging) provide highly accurate point data for digital terrain models that depict all real conditions in the forest and point out changes.

Combined with current weather data, the sensor evaluation tool turns into a comprehensive database for digital forest monitoring. How does that help? Among other things, it can supply additional information on the status of the forest and site-specific optimized planting strategies for targeted forest restructuring measures.

The product portfolios of machine manufacturers include machine-based applications, such as control systems for harvesters and forwarders, which provide ever new functionalities for optimized working conditions in timber harvesting. Providers of 3D surveying and recording software also promise optimizations, including improved manageability and functions with app technology. Cloud solutions are also important here, since they ensure rapid communication with order management in timber logistics.

Research projects show future potential

Presentations during the INTERFORST 2022 supporting program will provide a glimpse into the future and clarity on how close integration in the forestry and wood value chain can be advanced in the future: Several research projects, such as Forestry 4.0, EDE4.0 and Smart Forestry, aim to pave the way for intelligent timber harvesting and marketing. The topic of “Applied digitalization in forest development” will be presented in the forum on July 19, 2022, by Prof. Jürgen Roßmann, RWTH Aachen, and Prof. Erik Findeisen, University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, who will explain the possibilities for cloud-based navigation in timber logistics and show how digital technology can be used to record trail conditions. On July 20, 2022, Prof. Karl Stampfer, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, will host a discussion of the topics “Digital Interfaces Forest Monitoring” with Prof. Arne Nothdurft, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, and “Forest and Wood 4.0” with Frank Heinze, RIF Institut for Research and Transfer, and Dr. Thomas Freudenmann, EDI GmbH.

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