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Forestry Data Standards - Please read, despite the title

Be warned, this might not be the most thrilling post we've ever put out, but it might be the most important.

What's the issue?

As a sector we are starting to really harness digital technologies. Drone based work; in-forest digital inventory; harvester-mill communications; digital self-invoicing; grant applications to name a few are all going digital. Conservation orientated or production forestry, the digital world is our new best mate.

The problem is every app developer and every organisation collects data slightly differently. One person uses common tree species name, another scientific naming, another common with scientific in brackets. One app may use one height formula protocol whilst another uses a different formula. Your inventory app may use different data protocols than your mapping app meaning they're speaking different languages and are unable to communicate.

If we want to collectively and coherently use data across various platforms we need to standardise how we collect it.

What to do?

We've been working away with the Sylva Foundation to try and address this problem. What we really need is a standard that everyone signs up to and everyone adheres to. This will allow us to start really harnessing the potential of the digital world. It will allow us to jump ahead and embrace such things as generative AI by creating a common language of terms and methods.

A data standard would sit in the background making life easier for everyone. It may be more important to app developers than silviculturalists but its going to require both to make it happen.

What next?

We've produced a short paper on the issues, please download it and pass it around.

Data Standards for Forestry
Download PDF • 761KB

If you want to be kept in touch of what is going on please let us know here.

We must stress we aren't in the space to take take this on and lead it, that requires a bigger player than us. We just see a huge problem rolling towards that is starting to impact on the effectiveness of our work and that of forest managers.


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