World-first remote tree counting system earns award for scientist

World-first remote tree counting system earns award for scientist
A world first in developing a system to count and measure trees accurately using remote sensing technology and aerial imagery has won a Future Forests Research award for David Pont, a forest management scientist at Scion.
Future Forests Research Ltd chair Phil Taylor presented the third annual FFR science awards at a members’ dinner in Blenheim this evening. The awards dinner was held in conjunction with the annual member meetings where the outcomes of the FFR research programme were presented to over 130 members over three days of meetings and field visits.
Five awards are being presented, for:
1.      Innovation Adding Value to the Sector
Awarded to Paul Milliken for the development of a video camera system for use in steep country harvesting. The camera system, with the ability to remotely pan, tilt, and zoom, enables a hauler operator to view the entire cutover area on a colour screen in the cab of the hauler. As well as improving productivity by assisting with the pick-up of logs in the cutover, often in areas out of sight to the hauler operator, it also enables the operator to see that workers breaking out in the harvest area are in safe zones before the load is pulled in. The project has involved many challenges to enable sophisticated equipment to be used in very tough outdoor conditions on a harvesting site. Developing the remote wireless communication link was a particular challenge that Paul overcame.
2.      Communication and Sector Engagement
Awarded to Jeremy Snook. Over the last year Jeremy has consistently shown he can convert complex science outputs into a format that is readily understood by industry users and to present these tools to industry in an interesting and clear manner. In a series of industry workshops during the year Jeremy clearly and succinctly presented and described the Forecaster forest modelling system, reinforcing its capability.
3.      Contribution to a Science Team
Awarded to Dave Henley for his consistent and significant contribution to the North and South Island field measurement programme. Dave participates and works on a range of research projects across a number of the FFR themes. He demonstrates a commitment to field work in often difficult and rugged conditions. He consistently delivers research data and trial treatments of the highest quality that underpins many successful research team projects.
4.      Science of International Quality
Awarded to David Pont for efforts over the past year that has resulted in finalising a methodology that allows accurate automated counting of trees using remote sensing LiDAR and other aerial imagery. His methodology also allows production of a range of metrics related to individual trees. Development of an accurate methodology for counting trees is a world first that is likely to considerably improve understanding of how individual tree variation affects a range of inventory and wood quality metrics.
5.      Research Participation and Uptake
Awarded to Elaine Birk of Rayonier NZ Ltd. Elaine has a real passion for science that makes a difference to the way trees are grown and managed. During the year she played a key role in developing and delivering the productivity workshops and is constantly challenging all of us to have more meaningful engagement and tech translation. Her commitment to seeing the forestry sector in New Zealand advance through the application of science is inspiring.
Future Forests Research Ltd represents the interests of the forest industry and associated organisations in working with key funding organisations, commissioning and managing research and communicating research outcomes to members.
Most large forestry industry companies and many mid-sized and smaller organisations are members of Future Forests Research, as are many regional councils and other authorities with interests in forestry-related environmental and social issues.
For more information contact:
FFR Chief Executive Russell Dale, phone 0274-938-061, email