Connected Forests

Specialist sensors have been attached to trees in the Alice Holt forest in Hampshire and are connected via Vodafone’s market-leading NB-IoT network. Data is automatically transmitted to UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Forest Research, a leading organisation for forestry and tree-related research, where advanced analytics assesses the impact of temperature, humidity and moisture levels in the soil on tree growth and function.

Measuring tree growth is important in enabling scientists to estimate what contribution trees may have to mitigate climate change as a result of their ability to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.

Defra and Forest Research will use the results to inform policy makers and the public of how the changing environment impacts tree growth and the huge benefits that trees can provide by storing carbon.

The trial follows Defra’s 25-year Environment Plan, which outlined an ambition to increase woodland cover in England and the Government’s commitment to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025. To help reach these targets, the recently announced £640 million Nature for Climate Fund will invest in tree-planting alongside other environmental restoration over the next five years.