Transforming Tree Inventory Management with Remote Sensing Technology

Date 18.10.2023
Category Transforming Tree Inventory Management with Remote Sensing Technology
Author Charlie Lonsdale

Local authorities have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the trees they manage. However, maintaining a comprehensive inventory of these trees has proven a challenging and resource-intensive task for many councils. That's where KaarbonTech comes in. With the help of innovative remote sensing technology, we are revolutionising tree inventory management by creating digitised tree canopy datasets. This breakthrough not only allows for instant inventory creation, but also provides crucial insights for better resource allocation, risk management, and environmental stewardship. 

The Need for Efficient Tree Inventory Management 

Managing a tree inventory is an important task for local councils, but obtaining detailed data about the location and characteristics of these trees can be daunting, costly and time consuming. To streamline tree surveys, it is essential to have knowledge of where council-owned trees are likely to be situated. This knowledge helps councils focus resources on high-risk areas, minimise both travel costs and CO2 emissions, and allocate budgets more effectively for potential surveying work. 

Generating an Initial Tree Inventory 

Our innovative approach to creating an initial tree inventory from scratch revolves around harnessing LiDAR data. LiDAR is a remote sensing technique that uses laser imagery to measure the height of land features above sea level with remarkable accuracy. 

Data is collected by flying planes equipped with specialist sensors and taking images of the ground below. The sensor's laser beams bounce off surfaces, including tree canopies, and return to the sensor. By calculating the time taken for the laser pulses to travel and return to the sensor, we can accurately determine the height of objects, including trees. 

Our in-house data team processes the data using specialist software. This process involves segmenting tree canopies into individual trees and calculating likely tree stem locations for each canopy. 

The identified tree stem points are loaded into the KaarbonTech Tree SMART app, creating an instant inventory of likely tree locations. This app allows surveyors and arborists to access and survey potential tree locations, ultimately compiling a comprehensive tree inventory. 

The Wider Benefits of Utilising Remote Sensing for Trees 

Our technology-based approach saves time, money and reduces CO2 emissions, but also offers additional benefits: 

  • LiDAR provides highly precise tree height data. This enables the identification of areas at high risk of treefall incidents. Combined with vulnerability data of assets within the impact zone, councils can make informed decisions about prioritising tree maintenance. 

  • Remote sensing technology can provide precise values for overall canopy coverage across wards, districts, or counties. This information is invaluable for councils that are required to comply with environmental tree coverage targets. 

  • For councils utilising both our Tree SMART and Gully SMART solutions, the integration of tree canopy data into the Gully SMART system assists with identifying potential leaf-fall areas around deciduous trees to prioritise gully cleaning within these high-risk areas. 

Applying the Technique in Tree Management 

The fusion of remote-sensing technology with KaarbonTech’s innovative solutions is reshaping tree inventory management for local councils. This approach streamlines the digitisation of tree inventory data while empowering authorities to make informed decisions regarding resource allocation, risk mitigation, and environmental sustainability. By utilising LiDAR-derived data, councils can efficiently manage their tree populations, meet environmental targets, and ensure public safety. With our LiDAR-driven advancements, tree inventory management has never been more efficient or effective.