Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wireless sensor network monitors microclimate in the forest

20.05.2011
During a forest monitoring operation, forestry scientists measure various environmental values. This is how they obtain indications about how the forests are changing and what can be done to preserve them. However, installing and maintaining the wired measuring stations is complex: Researchers developed a wireless alternative.

What effect does climate change have on our local forests? What types of trees will be suitable for which geographic location? And how great is the pollution level here? Forestry scientists are conducting „forest monitoring” procedures:


They continuously record parameters such as soil humidity or pollutant penetration at permanently installed monitoring stations. The results of such examinations contribute to maintaining the ecological stability of the forests over the long term. The problem: Not only are the wired measuring devices complex to install and maintain, they also hinder silvicultural work in the forest.

In the future, technologies from the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS could enable differentiated analysis without any bothersome cables. Scientist from the institute in Duisburg installed a new type of system for microclimatic monitoring on the grounds of the Northwest German Forestry Testing Facility in Göttingen, Germany. “We are using a wireless sensor network so we can measure relevant parameters within an area at many sites simultaneously,” explains Hans-Christian Müller, group manager at the IMS. This way, we receive a very detailed picture about the environmental conditions on site, without much installation effort. Depending on which values they are to measure – for example, soil moisture content, air temperature or the moisture in the leaves – different sensor nodes are inserted into the soil or affixed to branches.

If required, the measuring positions can be changed without much effort. The intelligent mini-computers automatically form a network and control the transmission of measurement data within this network. The results are transmitted by cellular radio to a central tree stock database. To facilitate this, a mobile cellular modem is connected directly to the sensor network.

Providing power to the sensor nodes poses a particular challenge. Mounting solar cells to the sensors – a favored solution in other agrarian and forestry applications – is not an option due to the low penetration of sunlight under the leafy canopy of the trees. That‘s why, to date, there has been no alternative to batteries that have to be replaced regularly. Researchers, however, managed to significantly increase battery life, keeping maintenance requirements within reasonable limits: “We adapted the software design accordingly and now have operating times of 12 months,“ says Müller. A software solution integrated into the sensors ensures that the radio nodes are for the most part in an energy-saving sleep mode. They are active only during the measurement and data transmission process. The measurement intervals can be set to be variable. Parameters that change slowly such assoil moisture need not be measured as often as air temperature, for example, which is subject to larger variations. Since data transmission requires the most energy, the measurement values are calculated as early as the sensor node. This reduces the data volume.

The new technology is already in use in Göttingen as part of the joint project "Smart Forest". The project aims to optimize forestry processes with the aid of microelectronic components. The researchers from IZM will be introducing their results on the “Smart Forests” as well as other developments on the industrial application of wireless sensor networks at the Messe Sensor + Test tradeshow from June 7 – 9 in Nuremberg, Germany, in Hall 12, Booth 231.

Hans-Christian Müller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2010-2011/17/microclimate-forest.jsp

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>