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Collecting Accurate Individual Tree Information for Harvester Operation Decision Making

If we remove too much wood from the forests in the first thinning, it lowers the growth of forests and carbon intake jeopardising CO2 emission reduction targets. We should also save more biodiversity in our forests. 

In 2022, PONSSE - the Finnish harvester manufacturer and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cut-to-length (CTL) forest machines - launched a technology concept introducing a world-first thinning density assistant based on using mobile laser scanning (MLS), as a new product of the UNITE flagship ecosystem. The thinning density assistant is based on mobile laser scanning (MLS). It detects the trees around the harvester using point clouds generated by the MLS and suggests a target number of trees to be left in the forest. The current system optimises only the number of remaining trees. The decision made by the harvester operator could be more accurate, if there would be more knowledge of the trees, i.e. higher number of stand attributes including those describing health, biodiversity, wood quality, and stored carbon. 

The core idea of the project is to improve technologies related to the world-first thinning density assistant in order to be able to meet the requirement of various forest ecosystem services. We suggest two ways (we collect highly accurate individual tree information before harvesting as a priori information and we provide algorithms capable of providing stem curve, height, diameter, basal-area, volume and biomass using in-house developed, world-leading MLS point cloud processing technologies) to increase the quality of forest information related to harvester forest operations. 

The co-creation, collaboration, interaction and dissemination includes three circles with different intensities in interaction. The closest collaboration is done with companies Ponsse and Field group with the objective that project results are commercialised by these two companies. The second circle in co-creation consists of leading Finnish export industry, namely Stora Enso, UPM and Metsägroup (rank 1, 3 and 6 in Europe) and selected companies Tornator, Metsäteho and Terrasolid. They could increase productivity and contribute to maintaining biodiversity with the tools developed in this project. To the third circle, the rest of the forest bioeconomy cluster in Finland is included. To ensure efficient co-creation and co-innovation with them, project will use the flagship UNITE platform for engaging key stakeholders.

Contact persons
laser scanning
point cloud
Research groups
Funding organisation or partners
Academy of Finland