Protecting and Managing Forests with AI

Drought, heat, and pest infestation: Climate change is threatening forests in Germany and represents a big challenge in forest management. A joint project of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and EDI GmbH – Engineering Data Intelligence, a spinoff of KIT, now provides support. Together with partners in the forestry sector, they are developing the EDE 4.0 assistance system. Based on artificial intelligence (AI), it helps foresters preserve and sustainably manage forests.

Climate change also affects forests in Germany. Currently, the biggest forest dieback since the 1980s is taking place. In Baden-Württemberg, 43 percent of all forest areas are damaged. Science will now help take countermeasures and make forest ecosystems more resistant: “Mixed forests with hornbeam, maple, or wild cherry cope with the new conditions much better than spruce forests, but are less profitable. When planting trees, soil properties play an important role,” says climate researcher Dr. Joachim Fallmann from the South German Climate Office of KIT. “Forest management has to respond and to carefully balance various aspects.” To help foresters make optimal data-based decisions, EDI GmbH, a spinoff of KIT specialized in intelligent industry software, the South German Climate Office, and KIT’s Institute of Geography and Geoecology develop a cloud-based decision support system based on artificial intelligence (AI) methods. The interdisciplinary project EDE 4.0 (German acronym of Ex tended Dynamic Planning of Logging) is carried out in close cooperation with partners in the forest management sector and is aimed at supporting sustainable forestry.

Intelligent Assistance System for Forest Management

The assistance system is based on a software solution made by EDI GmbH. The EDI hive IoT Framework was originally designed for machine learning in the automotive, aerospace, and mechanical engineering sectors. “Our development work will result in a mobile app that can be operated intuitively and uses AI to support local foresters when deciding where to log or when to plant new trees. Moreover, the system will output success perspectives when planting a tree at a specific location,” says Dr. Thomas Freudenmann, Co-CEO & Co-founders of EDI GmbH.

For the system to supply relevant results, it first has to recognize relationships and patterns. For this purpose, many data from various areas are merged. These are data on medium-term climate development provided by the German Weather Service and KIT’s Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research. The Institute of Geography and Geoecology of KIT supplies specific forestry-related data. The forestry sector contributes information on the market environment. In addition, the assistance system will consider the local knowledge and expertise of foresters.

Associated Partners and Funding

The EDE 4.0 project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) based on a decision by the German Parliament. The project management agency is Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (FNR), the central project-coordinating agency in the area of renewable resources. Associated partners are the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection(MLR), Forstliche Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalt Baden-Württemberg (FVA), Rottenburg University of Applied Forest Sciences (HFR), and the City of Karlsruhe.

Interactive Video Presents the Project

The EDE 4.0 project is presented by the third video of the interactive series “Do things with AI”. When playing the video in the interactive video player, you can change between different images and soundtracks to watch and listen from several perspectives. By a few steps, the interactive videos can also be integrated into their own records via the embed code.
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Über die EDI GmbH

EDI GmbH offers an efficient private cloud with an AI-based application, the EDI hive IoT Framework. EDI hive provides optimisation, management and supervision of processes and machines. We value your experts’ knowledge by creating a new digital product with our EDI hive and benefit competitive advantages from Automated Machine Learning (autoML) in this global era. With our experienced experts and AI-based digital business models, we open up new business fields and ensure a fast ROI.

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