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Södra invests in more forestry drones

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“We have identified numerous applications where drones can enhance the efficiency of forestry work, not least when making inventories of storm-damaged forests. By purchasing equipment and investing in raising skills, we are taking another step towards the development of tomorrow’s digital forestry operations,” said Johan Malmqvist, Project Manager at Södra.

Since the end of 2015, Södra has trialled the use of drones for applications including inventories of forest damage. Test outcomes have been favourable and major potential has been identified for the digital technology moving forward. This summer, the Swedish Camera Monitoring Act was amended, which has simplified the use of drones in forestry.

Södra is now taking further steps with digital development in the form of a considerable investment in drone technology and personnel skills development.

“We have purchased drone equipment for all our forestry operations areas and, in the autumn, we trained 51 of our forestry professionals as drone pilots. This means we are now well equipped to further develop use of the technology,” said Johan Malmqvist.

Drones are digital aids that enhance the efficiency of manual tasks for Södra’s field staff.

“The technology is extremely cost-efficient. It is possible to obtain a good overview of the forest in very little time. The major advantage is from not having to waste unnecessary amounts of time on checks. Drones enable you to quickly see if and where a manual inspection or action is required. This enables more efficient work methods that, by extension, benefit our forest owner members. Moreover, drones make work safer for forest inspectors, not least when making inventories of windfalls following a storm,” said Johan Malmqvist.

But drone technology is not only of great benefit when making inventories of forest damage.

“For example, another potentially useful application is planting and cleaning. Gathering decision data for deciding actions and planning is another. An eye in the sky provides a much-improved view of conditions than looking through dense forest at ground level,” said Johan Malmqvist.

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