Returning to the show calendar for the first time since before the pandemic, Interforst was back with a bang. Forestry Journal joined thousands of guests at Messe München last month, as 31,000 visitors and more than 300 exhibitors ensured there was plenty to see. In this series of articles, we provide a small taste of what was on offer. 

DIGITAL solutions weren’t limited to smartphone apps. Drones were very much the order of Interforst’s day, with a whole host of companies attending from around Europe to show off new ways of gathering data on woodlands.

One such company offering a digital solution was Clear Timber, a Dutch start-up that began around the time of the first COVID lockdown and hasn’t looked back since. While it wasn’t part of the Innovation Tour, it certainly impressed when Forestry Journal stopped by. 

Using intelligent algorithms – many borrowed from Facebook – the system could play a key role as European foresters fight back against pests, such as the bark beetle. 

READ MORE: Interforst: Stihl's Treeva offers smarter forestry solutions

 “Clear Timber fills the toolkit for modern foresters, – not the old-fashioned ones, but with new tools such as drones and deep learning algorithms,” said founder Alex van Gelder. “We started off in 2020 with our bark beetle detection product. We used drones to fly over the forest, but that’s not so unique. What’s really exciting is what we’re doing with that information back at our office.

“There we’ve trained an algorithm to find the first infestation of bark beetle. The second bark beetle is in the forest, we’re able to see how far it has spread and to help foresters stop it.” 

Unlike other firms using drones, Clear Timber is completely universal, meaning you can use your own devices and not have to rely on specific models. So far it has been used successfully both at a private and state management level, with one major machine manufacturer also on board. 

Alex added: “Our software is now smarter than we are and sees the first signs of infestation before us.

“We translate our analysis into a way foresters can understand it. But more importantly it will recommend what needs to be done.”