January 26, 2018

Technology in Forestry

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As we near the end of Brad's work term with Tolko, he reflects on how technology impacts his daily life in the forest industry. There's no doubt, technology has a large role to play in forestry and we're looking for great people, like Brad, who bring new ideas to the field. We're changing and we want the best and brightest to lead the way. We're glad Brad recognized the impact of technology on his work and we look forward to seeing his take on the future.

Brad Constantine was selected as one of Greenest Workforce Green Dream bloggers during the summer of 2017. Brad shared some great insight into what it's like to work in the forest industry and to live in Meadow Lake. We'll be re-sharing Brad's summer of blogs over the next several weeks so you can share in his adventure and more about the great opportunities that await you in the forest industry. For more information on the Greenest Workforce visit: http://thegreenestworkforce.ca/index.php/en/home/

By Brad Constantine on September 11, 2017

This summer has shown me a whole new perspective on how technology impacts my daily job. The forestry sector can move forward at a faster rate due to technological advances. From flying drones to do reconnaissance, creating maps using the latest GIS software, to LiDAR calibration plots to increase the accuracy of laser technology. Each piece plays an important role in the progress of allowing timber to come into the mills. By using the technology, it allows for technicians and supervisors to cover more ground and retrieve more data more efficiently.

The usage of drones within forestry operations is relatively new. Prairie Woodlands have recently been using them in the previous two years to check burn piles, proper block retentions during harvesting, establishment blocks and terrain of areas that have yet to be cut. For myself and the supervisors, we mostly use drones for the harvesting portion. Our planning crew, on the other hand, can use the drone footage to aid in the layout of blocks and be able to make ortho maps of areas to aid in visualizing the terrain on a map.

Secondly, the LiDAR Plot I wrote about earlier in the summer plays a huge role as well. Data collected from the work aids the planning groups in Northern Saskatchewan to figure out what there is for timber volume in our forests. Timber volume is very important to know because it allows woodlands to gauge how much wood is needed to supply the demand of products and to figure out how many blocks will need to be cut to meet the quota for the mill.

Finally, to bring everything together, all this data is collected and process into PDF maps. From this, we can distinguish between stand types and densities within blocks. On these maps, we can see where wet areas are, and what species are growing in areas. With this data, we can decide when is the best time to cut the blocks.

Although the forestry industry was born on the ground, the advancement in technology is a step in the right direction as the demand for forest product has skyrocketed since the origin of industrialized forest management.