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A new generation of sensors and monitoring tools to support climate-smart forestry practices

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Torresan, Chiara ; Benito Garzón, Marta ; O’Grady, Michael ; Robson, Thomas Matthew; Picchi, Gianni ; Panzacchi, Pietro ; Tomelleri, Enrico ; Smith, Melanie ; Marshall, John ; Wingate, Lisa ; Tognetti, Roberto ; Rustad, Lindsey E.; Kneeshaw, Dan

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Canadian Journal of Forest Research


Climate-smart forestry (CSF) is an emerging branch of sustainable adaptive forest management aimed at enhancing the potential of forests to adapt to and mitigate climate change. It relies on much higher data requirements than traditional forestry. These data requirements can be met by new devices that support continuous, in situ monitoring of forest conditions in real time. We propose a comprehensive network of sensors, i.e., a wireless sensor network (WSN), that can be part of a worldwide network of interconnected uniquely addressable objects, an Internet of Things (IoT), which can make data available in near real time to multiple stakeholders, including scientists, foresters, and forest managers, and may partially motivate citizens to participate in big data collection. The use of in situ sources of monitoring data as ground-truthed training data for remotely sensed data can boost forest monitoring by increasing the spatial and temporal scales of the monitoring, leading to a better understanding of forest processes and potential threats. Here, some of the key developments and applications of these sensors are outlined, together with guidelines for data management. Examples are given of their deployment to detect early warning signals (EWS) of ecosystem regime shifts in terms of forest productivity, health, and biodiversity. Analysis of the strategic use of these tools highlights the opportunities for engaging citizens and forest managers in this new generation of forest monitoring.


climate change; early warning signals; ecosystem regime shifts; wireless sensor network; Internet of Things; citizen science; green technologies


Torresan, Chiara; Benito Garzón, Marta; O’Grady, Michael; Robson, Thomas Matthew; Picchi, Gianni; Panzacchi, Pietro; Tomelleri, Enrico; Smith, Melanie; Marshall, John; Wingate, Lisa; Tognetti, Roberto; Rustad, Lindsey E.; Kneeshaw, Dan. 2021. A new generation of sensors and monitoring tools to support climate-smart forestry practices. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 51(12): 1751-1765.

Last updated on: May 3, 2022