Innovation Future Specialist

Links: Home | Contents

Forest Innovations

This is how we develop the required innovations to turn a great vision into reality.

» Set the aims

» Consider potential solutions

» Consider related solutions in other sectors

» Assess the environmental impact

» Think about costs

» Seek radical innovations

» Think outside the box

» Expect multiple solutions and future progress


» Prevention and reversal of deforestation and forest degradation

» Viable solutions for everyone associated with forestry and the industry

» Sustainably managed resources

» Protection of ecosystems and species

» Rapid adoption of new sustainable practices and growth of new forests [before 2030]

Potential solutions

» Advanced monitoring, modelling and advice for efficient, sustainable, operations

» Global monitoring, transparency, regulation and (eco-friendly) consumer choice

» Rapid, and extensive, reforestation and the creation of new forests

» Sustainable harvesting: branches not whole trees

» Value added product (component) manufacture in situ (where wood waste is deposited in the local ecosystem, not shipped around the world)

(Show examples ↓)

» Satellites, aircraft, LIDAR, drones, micro-drones, networked sensors, roaming sample collecting robots

» Mapping, location (GPS), navigation systems, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

» AI (machine learning), Big Data (at individual tree/plant level), modelling, prediction and optimisation

» Online education and specific advice systems

» Open access data and information systems => open and citizen science, forest eco-sustainability rating system, and informed consumer choice

» Ask millions of volunteers to plant trees [as was done in India]

» Use drones to plant seeds over large areas

» Uses drones or robots to plant robust (protected) saplings over large areas

» Robot climbs trees to cut off (harvest) selected branches

» Machine processes branches, and assembles to make products (or components of)

» A 3D printer turns branches (or trunks) into components / products

Related solutions in other sectors

» Given the significant amount of wood used as firewood for heating, cooking and lighting, an alternative option would be welcome. The XPRIZE for clean, abundant, energy could provide a billion people with electricity for the first time - and remove most of the need for firewood, thus reducing air pollution and the adverse impact on forests.

» More effective and efficient recycling policies and strategies (for wood, wooden products, paper and cardboard) would reduce the demand on forests.

» Safe, biodegradable, paints and varnishes on wood products might provide the opportunity to recycle more wooden products.

Environmental impact

» Scrutinise processes that pollute or degrade the environment
(Show examples ↓)


» Combustion (even burning hydrogen in air might create nitrogen oxides)

» Processes that contaminate water and soil

» Destruction of habitat, disturbing ground cover, and causing soil erosion

» On a finite planet, land usage is important too


» Consider factors that determine costs
(Show examples ↓)

Cost factors

» Markets, supply and demand, policies, and regulation

» The efficiency of manufacturing and operational processes

» The efficiency of machines and other technologies

» Costs drop significantly with automation, exponential technologies, and radical innovations!

Radical innovation

» Apply radical innovation to every aspect
(Show examples ↓)

» Monitoring, prediction, regulation and advice

» Harvesting wood with minimal impact to trees, plants, animals, and the ground (e.g. while transporting from stump to loading area)

» Monitor and enhance the ecosystem (during harvesting)

» Enrich and grow ecosystems (e.g. more plants, attention to water, good design, compatible agriculture, more forests, and turning deserts green)

» Integrated supply chains, transparency, source-destination tracking, eco-sustainability ratings, and virtual marketplaces (including support for custom product designs)

Think outside the box

» Think outside the box
(Show examples ↓)

» Utilising vast areas of desert, for new forest

» Innovation in mining to reduce the area above ground that is devastated (e.g. mineral/metal extraction and refinement down the mine, leaving the waste underground; perhaps aided by more machines/robots)

» Empowering (eco-friendly) customers with key information and ratings, so that eco-sustainable forest practices are rewarded (with more business) and poor practices are abandoned

» Creating opportunities for those in or near the forests to create connections with potential customers (e.g. web pages showing their culture, work, eco-friendly practices, and custom products)

Multiple solutions and future progress

» Given the massive challenge, anticipate the need for multiple innovations to satisfy the overall aims

» Remember that exponential progress will produce improved (and new) solutions as the decades progress, but we need to start now.


Links: Home | Contents

Contact / feedback / suggest