Innovations That are Changing the Face of Forests and Ecology
With all the recent and often disastrous developments in the natural world, we have reached a juncture in time where it is imperative for everyone to actively work towards conserving the environment. Leading scientists have been highlighting the delicate condition of the environment and stressing the requirement for a large and concentrated effort, which might be the only way to control the impacts of climate change.
Industries are working alongside scientists and researchers alike to find ways to help mitigate environmental changes and maybe, in some cases, reverse the effects of humans on the environment to a certain extent. One of the most significant ways to combat climate change and reduce carbon footprint is to have more trees and also conserve existing forests.
Technology has come a long way with helping in identifying and verifying the right type of tree conservation for maximum impact while also reaching development goals. From drones to consumer incentives, to responsibly sourced ingredients, there are multiple avenues in which technology is making an impact on ecological conservation.
5 Technology Innovations for Ecological Conservation
Historically, technology has not always been on the side of nature conservation. From strip-mining to oilrigs to fracking, there have been numerous instances or innovations that have led to the direct destruction of the environment. However, in recent years, research units have begun to employ the use of technology to stop the advent of environmental ruin and be an integral part of climate change solutions. Here are some technological innovations that have proven their mettle in the fight against climate change.
- Drones for trees
According to the World Wildlife fund, the planet is losing around 18.3 million acres of forests every year. The importance of trees in keeping the temperature stable and reduce carbon is a well-established fact already. All of us have seen conservationists organise extensive tree planting drives in order to combat this (often) mass destruction of forests. Unfortunately, as significant as individual initiatives of tree planting by hand may be, it is no match for the rampant industrial deforestation taking place.
This is where drones come in. A Britain-born organisation has created and tested software that uses drones to plant new trees at high speeds. The drones first map the overhead region that has been ravaged, and the planting drones then embed the seeds in the right place based on the data collected.
This technology can be actively used by reforestation companies to make an effective change to the status of green cover on the planet.
- GMO products
Genetically modified crops have been around for a while but have unfortunately had a less than stellar reputation. However, with increasing vagrancies in the weather caused by climate change, regular crops have been failing. With an imbalance in the overall ecosystem, even natural ecosystems like forests are facing threats from pests, parasites, and diseases. Genetically modified plant species can be created to be hardy in the face of environmental and ecological changes and reach the objectives of sustainable development.
While this solution does help with creating hardy forests and crops, this solution cannot be one of the only objectives of sustainable development. This step can be used for disaster management, but if we are serious about having a habitable environment, then we must focus on the larger picture of reversing the effects of climate change.
- Using arid regions for tree growth
The planet has natural pockets of rich ecological diversity, which are highly conducive to the growth of trees. These regions typically enjoy high rainfall and fertile land. However, these natural pockets are being seriously threatened by human development and encroachment.
A newer system that is being tried and tested involves growing trees in arid and semi-arid regions by using new innovations in technology. Land life company, located in the Netherlands, has come up with a system where trees can be grown with only a fraction of the water required usually. In fact, the number they provide is 25L during a tree’s entire lifetime. This naturally gives new trees a higher chance of survival than with conventional growing methods.
- Data and remote sensing
Those steeped in conservation are now employing a combination of data sets and remote sensing in order to keep track of ecosystems. The data collected is then plugged into existing data sets, which allows other bio-researchers and conservationists to access. Remote sensing comes in useful in remotely located regions or rugged terrains and even in areas where human resources are hard to train and organise.
Reforestation exercises use remote sensing to keep track of newly-planted trees and collect data from the region. If they discover that a particular species of pests are destroying the habitat, then the right steps can be taken to ensure its survival.
A region that has pre-recorded data concerning the number of trees, density, types and numbers of animals, access to natural water through the year, and more, can help other researchers to assess the region for new conservation actions. If they deem that a recently reforested area makes for an ideal habitat for an endangered species, then they can proceed to test their theory.
- Apps for the public
Global environmental conservation is now in a place where any effort will be successful only with the support and cooperation of individuals. Specially designed apps can help in understanding the exact conditions of the environment and how they can contribute their own.
Data sets that are being updated continuously in real-time, existing laws, new policies, the effects of corporate actions, and more, can be accessed easily by regular people. This knowledge can help them realise the work that is happening on the ground and what is required. More aware citizens’ results in a government that is more invested in creating actual change and work with the aim of sustainable development.
Technology has been working hand in hand with conservationists in the fight to reverse environmental change. With advancements in water consumption of trees and the use of existing technology like remote sensing and drone technology, there are several ways in which technology is already proving to be useful in nature conservation. More philanthropic organisations are teaming up with tech giants to develop effective ground-level environmental sustainability projects. One of the most notable names in this segment is the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, who have been putting to use their accessibility and knowledge of tech to environmental causes.
EcoMatcher is also one of the top reforestation companies that help companies set up corporate tree planting as a part of their business in order to bolster tree conservation. They help provide overarching initiatives at multiple levels in order to decrease or offset the negative impact businesses might have on the environment. Some of their services include gifting trees to customers, setting up a tree for employees in the company’s forest, and using trees as reward and loyalty programs. They allow businesses to track and monitor tree planting or adoption, which creates more education and awareness.
There is no reason to assume that successful technologies are only a detriment to the environment. By spearheading innovation and targeting it towards sustainability and environmental change, there’s no stopping the progress towards climate action and sustainable development goals and targets.