The last thing you might expect to see when looking at an image of a forest is a barrage of bright, neon colors. But if you happen to be looking at a forest under the careful, conservational eye of Irish company Treemetrics, you’ll be able to view a forest littered with trees in all shades of the rainbow. That’s because Treemetrics has actually developed a method to promote the conservation of trees and forests utilizing lasers.
Employing a LIDAR (light detection and ranging) system that essentially acts as a laser radar, Treemetrics can collect 3D data from trees that illustrates how straight and dense a given tree is, all represented in 2D by various, eye-popping colors. The LIDAR system is essentially just a camera situated on a tripod that images a forest to produce a 360-degree picture in order to document important data on the health of trees. An Internet program can read and interpret the data to map out just how much wood can be harvested in a given area from each individual tree.
Treemetrics’ laser conservation method hopes to manage and conserve commercial forests a lot more wisely and effectively. If researchers can analyze the health of a tree and the amount of logs that can be harvested from it, they can direct loggers and plantation managers on the quality of any given tree and how much can be cultivated from each without irreversibly damaging the tree or harming the overall ecosystem which it inhabits.
This seriously cool and colorful laser conservation method could potentially save around 20 percent of wood from commercial forests that usually ends up going to waste during the harvesting process. To aid Treemetrics in their environmentally conscious cause, the LIDAR information they collect is combined with drone photography, aerial imagery and data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel satellites to drastically diminish the amount of wood wasted from logging and to harvest more wood from fewer trees. And because those lasers produce some amazing satellite images, Treemetrics is not only conserving our trees, but they’re also providing us with some seriously cool images to boot. It’s a win-win for all.