"We are a digital services company (PRIOT Digital Systems), specializing in the development of custom web ERP systems. A part of our team participated in the CASSINI hackathon where we won the national and the European level competition in 2022 with our idea for the early bark-beetle detection system BugBit (https://www.cassini.eu/hackathons/portfolio). In addition to this, earlier in 2023 we won the myEUSpace Idea competition, which is organized by the European Union Agency for Space (https://www.euspa.europa.eu/myeuspace-competition-winners-2022).
"BugBit is a digital platform for forest managers that leverages satellite and weather data with machine learning methods to monitor forests in real time, help manage bark beetle outbreaks, and streamline the entire forest management process for a more sustainable future and better economic results.
Bark beetles are a major issue in the forests of the European Union, causing significant economic and ecological damage. The outbreaks have been increasing in recent years due to a combination of factors including climate change, forest management practices, and monoculture forest plantations.
According to the European Forest Institute, the cost of bark beetle damage in the EU ranges from 2 to 3 billion euros annually. The cost of the damage includes the direct cost of removing and replacing dead trees and decreased property & timber values. For example, in Germany, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation has reported that between 2002 and 2012, approximately 15 million cubic meters of trees were removed due to bark beetle infestations.
The infestations also have negative impacts on biodiversity and forest carbon sequestration.
Bark beetles can cause significant damage to forests, killing trees and altering the structure and composition of forest ecosystems. This can lead to a decline in the abundance and diversity of plant and animal species that depend on the affected forests for habitat and resources. Trees also play an important role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in their biomass, roots, and soils. When trees die as a result of bark beetle infestations, this stored carbon is released back into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. In addition, the loss of trees reduces the capacity of forests to sequester carbon in the future.
The main innovation aspect of our solution is a holistic view of the problem, combining expertise in both remote sensing and artificial intelligence to provide real-time monitoring and an exceptional user experience that will offer tools for mapping bark beetle outbreaks & task delegation. This would provide valuable information for forest management and decision-making, enabling a more proactive and efficient response to infestations.
In terms of technological advancement, the solution will leverage innovative algorithms for image processing, machine learning, and predictive modeling to accurately detect and map bark beetle outbreaks. The use of multiple data sources will also be a factor in the technological advancement of the solution."