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Every summer, southern Europe is hit by forest fires, destroying hectares of forest and endangering the environment and wildlife. According to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS, Greece, Italy and Spain were the worst affected countries in 2021. Italy – which destroyed an average of 40,448 hectares per year from 2008 to 2020 – has a count of 157,558 charred hectares this year. But new solutions are emerging to address this problem. Silvanet from Dryad Networks is one of them, aimed at detecting fire very early on and monitoring the health and growth of forests.

The German start-up has developed a system that can cover vast areas with its smart sensors that are capable of collecting real-time data. The first live demonstration took place in a forest near Berlin, as the company prepares for its launch on the market. Dryad Networks aims to save 400 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

A fast-to-deploy solution

The small solar-powered sensors hanging from trees measure temperature, humidity, and air pressure levels. The embedded gas sensor chip is what makes the difference in detecting smoke. It can detect fire during the smoldering phase – before there is an open fire – and it needs less than an hour, while it normally takes hours or days with camera and satellite-based solutions. Through AI, sensors can detect wildfires and distinguish from other sources – such as diesel vehicles.

Mesh gateways can be attached at three meters above the ground. They use the LoRaWAN standard for long-range radio networks in order to establish a large-scale IoT infrastructure. They are solar-powered too and can be integrated with sensors to monitor forest growth.

At the edge of the woods, there are the border gateways which connect to the Dryad cloud platform. Wireless, satellite, or ethernet are the available connection options. Furthermore, customers can also choose to use the Starlink satellite for a faster connection. Border gateways can be either solar-powered or connected to the mains.

All the gathered data is displayed in a cloud-based dashboard, where the user can receive updates on the condition of the forest. Consequently, forest managers know in advance if a fire is starting as they will receive a notification immediately.

Dryad Networks aims to integrate other sensors into its infrastructure to monitor the soil. As a result, forests will be monitored more closely as more information and data-driven decision tools become available.

Also read: Detecting forest fires on satellite images with the help of AI