AI tool finds infested trees in the forest

Sometimes it’s important to find a needle in a haystack. Each year, the spruce bark beetle causes 350 million euros of damage to spruce forests in Sweden. Infested trees need to be quickly identified, felled and taken out of the forest in order to reduce new infestations.

Forest company Holmen has developed a tool that uses artificial intelligence to analyse satellite images and identify sections of forest that have been damaged by the tiny four-millimetre insect. Software analyses the satellite images and spots the infested trees with the help of image recognition technology.

Through ongoing development, the algorithm is becoming increasingly accurate, to the point where the smart tool is now finding over 80 per cent of the infested trees. This can save months of manual field work for forest owners while at the same time preserving large amounts of value in the wood.

By combining nature and technology, Holmen is making progress that benefits people, the environment, and society.

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