Tech Update - Forestry Drone Technology

Pacific UAV TechnologyPacific UAV Technology

Pacific UAV Technology says that their aim is to help integrate drone technology into forestry services.

Their specially manufactured and high-powered drones are able to cut down on hard employee labour and increase efficiency and profits. The company has spent years researching and developing ways to improve safety and efficiency for the logging industry, and they are excited to be helping companies with their drones.

Pacific UAV Technology says that the possibilities are endless with the number of things its drones are able to accomplish. They have been able to convert hours of layout time into just minutes, which had not been possible before. Other services they perform include repairs, parts sales, fire safety drills, construction, and power line safety.


SuavAir started using drones in 2014 to improve safety by reducing the amount of exposure to field surveyors in steep and dangerous terrain. In addition to the safety benefits, production was double or triple that of traditional ground surveying methods.

The high resolution imagery is analyzed, resulting in better forest management decisions. SuavAir has evolved significantly since then, implementing other successful forestry applications. These applications include: silviculture application to produce free-to-grow surveys; brush mapping; treatment efficacy assessments; post-wildfire reforestation surveys; post-harvest survey applications to confirm boundary and road locations; assurance that all merchantable fibre has been extracted; soil disturbance assessments; slash pile counts; and site preparation mapping.

Other applications include: mill and manufacturing applications for woodchip volumetric surveys; inventory management; inspection, and site safety planning.

Another application is wildfire hotspot mapping with a thermal camera and mapping of active fire boundaries. This includes post-fire salvage mapping and reforestation surveys.

L.M. Forest Resource SolutionsL.M. Forest Resource Solutions

Located in Smithers B.C., L.M. Forest Resource Solutions Ltd is a well-established consulting firm specializing in natural resource management solutions.

Since 2014, it has been providing innovative data capture using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones for a broad range of solutions including: video up to four kilometres, geo-referenced orthomosaics, pit volumes, pile and object volumes, timber species and volumes using allometric-based algorithms developed in-house, terrain models and contours, silviculture stocking levels, tree height and crown maps, forest health analysis, stream temperature assessments, forest fuel loading, and thermal imagery including heat loss inspections and wildfire hotspot detection.

L.M. Forest Resource Solutions has a variety of sensors and drones that help it tailor its services to customer needs. The company says it has been pioneering drone use for years, has the experience to help customers decide whether the use of UAVs is an appropriate approach, and knows how to process imagery to extract the most meaningful data.

InDro RoboticsInDro Robotics

InDro Robotics is a Canadian company focused on providing innovation in aerial robotics to enable complex operations, training, data collection, and custom services in the forestry and resource sectors.

Through in-house development and collaborative partnerships with academic institutions and industry leaders in a variety of fields, InDro has acquired expertise in a number of areas including photogrammetric mapping, multispectral vegetation imaging, environmental monitoring, application of image recognition analytics, detection of greenhouse gases, infrastructure inspection, as well as many other applications of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), such as thermal monitoring of forestry sites for spark watch.

Training and working closely with industry professionals and regulators, InDro promotes exceptional best practices and operating procedures that are based on a strong aviation background that have been distilled from thousands of hours of accumulated RPAS flight time. The InDro team is future-driven and excited about the opportunities inherent in revolutionizing forestry through the utilization of RPAS, the company says.

Hummingbird DronesHummingbird Drones

Drone technology and regulations are continuously evolving. Drone operators must now be certified licensed pilots and it seems each month a new drone appears in the market with better sensors and longer range.

Hummingbird has evolved with the industry, providing education as a training school and finding drone solutions for numerous applications in forestry. Infrared sensors ensure that post burn pile assessments are thorough. NDVI sensors enable the pinpointing of healthy vegetation and pockets of stressed timber. RGB cameras can help with road access inspections, inventory tracking of chip piles and log decks and burn extent mapping. All of this is possible with a drone that fits in the palm of your hand. 

As drone operators and educators, Hummingbird Drones stays abreast of industry developments.

With five years of training, innovation and learning behind them, they are more excited than ever for the continued impact of drones on forestry, the company says.


DroneSeed is a Seattle-based start-up that says it is capturing the attention of media and major companies. They were awarded the first multi-craft, over-55 lbs, unmanned aerial vehicle license ever issued by the FAA.

DroneSeed has custom UAV platforms, equipped with multi-spectral camera arrays, high end LiDAR, and proprietary dispersal mechanisms containing seeds, fertilizers and other amendments designed to boost seed survival.

In forestry, sometimes treeplanters are needed and sometimes helicopters. DroneSeed is the sweet spot in-between. They keep the speed, boost the survival of seed, and do it affordably and at scale by loading thousands of seed vessels at a time into their FAA-heavy-lift certified drone swarms, with each aircraft planting 3/4 of an acre per flight, or 57 lbs. They can restore thousands of acres of wildfire-ravaged land starting in 30 days and eliminate delays of 18 to 36 months waiting for seedlings to grow in a nursery to replant post-fire.

They have already been hired by three of the five largest timber companies in the U.S., the Nature Conservancy, as well as various other nonprofits and local and federal governments.

Hummingbird DronesCandrone

Candrone describes itself as Canada’s leading LiDAR systems integrators. It provides drone and LiDAR solutions, training, certification, consulting, data collection and processing services, and turnkey packages.

Candrone’s Green Valley LiDAR systems have up to a 1,000 metre range, with survey grade accuracy RGB camera integration for colorized 3D point-clouds.

Their GVI LiDAR360 software suite provides powerful tools for generating basic topographic outputs such as Digital Elevation Model (DEM), and deriving in-depth forestry metrics including tree count, DBH, and height based on individual tree segmentation. Drone and helicopter-mounted or backpack solutions are available.

Strategic Natural Resource ConsultantsStrategic Natural Resource Consultants

Strategic Natural Resource Consultants (SNRC) has operated a drone program for the last four years and it has learned a lot along the way. Having drones as a tool is exciting, but the company has found that it helps to embed this technology with its certified professionals to get the most value. They are foresters, biologists, GIS analysts and incident management professionals using drones to benefit their clients.

Everyone is capturing data with drones these days, SNRC says, but few are automating and extracting the best value from their data. That’s where they say that their team is focusing its drone efforts. 

With forestry as its core business, SNRC has found many ways to maximize the use of fixed wing and multi-rotor drones. Road as-built checks, visual impact assessments, Free To Grow surveys, salvage logging, forest health mapping, waste and residue, timber typing and many other tasks have benefited greatly from SNRC’s drones.


FYBR is a precision forestry company providing supply chain insights from forests to the mill.

Since launching in Vancouver in 2014, its mission is to put accurate and timely information into the hands of foresters and mill managers, enabling better forest management and fibre utilization decisions.

FYBR deploys turnkey automated drone systems with its clients, giving them the freedom to collect data at any time. That data is uploaded to the cloud-based FYBR Engine, a forestry-specific analysis platform and intuitive map interface.

FYBR partners with leading remote sensing academic institutions to validate its analysis, from individual standing stem metrics and species classification, to log deck measurements and compaction-corrected fibre pile analysis.

The company says that it is fortunate to work with passionate people all over North America including foresters, loggers, silviculturists, government, First Nations, pulp mills, sawmills, pellet plants, and bioenergy producers. Like FYBR, they believe that sustainably managed forests are our most valuable natural resource and that forest products are the way of the future.

Aquiline DronesAquiline Drones

From the Australian wildfires to the Iraqi border, commercial drones can quickly assess emergency situations. However, a drone that does not gather data or carry a payload is useless. That’s why a group of airline pilots have created Aquiline Drones (AD), what is said to be the first U.S.-based, drone-dedicated technology and manufacturing company that provides real-time data insights for analysis, reporting and monitoring.

AD is a privately held, American-based company that is owned and managed primarily by Barry Alexander, along with other business professionals, fellow airline pilots, aerospace and software engineers, distinguished military personnel, including retired Air Force generals, algorithmic mathematicians and other technologists. 

AD is a progressive drone enterprise, providing advanced drone solutions in manufacturing and OEM services, as well as superior cloud services through its Aquiline Drone Cloud (ADC) division.

AD says that its drones are intelligent robots, performing humanlike functions to save lives and provide services that aim to improve society in a safe, responsible and eco-friendly manner.

Logging and Sawmilling Journal

On the Cover:
Building components manufacturer Katerra recently opened North America’s highest volume cross-laminated timber (CLT) factory in Spokane Valley, Washington, and Logging and Sawmilling Journal has all the details on the new production facility beginning on page 28. The new plant has an annual manufacturing capacity of 185,000 cubic metres, the equivalent of 13 million square feet of 5-ply panels (Cover photo courtesy of Katerra Inc.).

Advocating safety—in all parts of logging
The BC Forest Safety Council is a leader in forest safety, and its employees such as Mike Pottinger are great advocates for industry safety, from the bush to the repair shop.

COFI Conference coming up in April
Logging and Sawmilling Journal outlines the issues and previews the B.C. Council of Forest Industries’ (COFI) annual convention coming up in April in Prince George, B.C., the largest gathering of the forest sector in Western Canada.

Giving ‘er in B.C. logging…
Young logging contractors may be in short supply these days, but the ones that are out there, like B.C.’s Brandon Connolly, are extremely effective with their equipment, and are—as Connolly says—“giving ‘er”.

More chips, please!
B.C.’s Valiant Log Sort has seen big-time growth in its wood chipping operations, with the closure/curtailment of a number of sawmills, and it has added to its equipment line-up with a new CBI 7544 Flail Debarker and Disc Chipper.

Manufacturing CLT state-side—with Canadian lumber
Building components manufacturer Katerra has opened a $150 million, high-volume cross-laminated timber (CLT) factory in Washington State—and feedstock, in the form of dimensional lumber, is all coming from Canada.

Breaking down wood—without breaking the bank
B.C. custom sawmiller Bob Jerke has discovered how to break down timbers into high volumes of boards without breaking the bank, thanks to a lower cost, manually-operated band sawmill.

Tech Update
Logging and Sawmilling Journal takes flight with this Tech Update, with a focus on drones in the forest industry.

The Edge
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from Alberta Innovates and Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC).

The Last Word
The present may look gloomy for the B.C. Interior forest industry, but it is tackling adversity and planning for the future, explains columnist Jim Stirling.


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