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João Marcos Rebessi e Ivy Mayara Sanches de Oliveira

Geoprocessing Analyst and Geoprocessing Coordinator, at Bracell-SP, respectively


The use of drones in advanced geotechnologies

The journey towards sustainable management of forestry assets, combined with the increase in operational efficiency, has contributed to the fact that in recent decades we have witnessed impressive technological evolution in the forestry sector.

Innovation, driven by the need for a comprehensive vision, capable of encompassing continuous monitoring of planted forests, at the same time, providing specific details of these biological assets to base forest management on concrete data, has become fundamental. And what tool could meet these apparently antagonistic needs? Drones, which have emerged as a disruptive solution and have conquered their space in the forestry sector, capable of providing strategic and operational perspectives through a single platform.

Over the last twenty years, we have followed the drone revolution in forestry management. For a deeper diagnosis on the topic, it is pertinent to divide this evolution into three distinct phases. The first was basically a period of experimentation, in which drones were used for testing with simple cameras, and little data analysis was linked to these tests. The second phase marked the integration of drones with geotechnologies, allowing that the images captured were capable of providing accurate data to generate localized analyzes and continuous monitoring.

The application of deep learning techniques contributed significantly to the extraction of objective and precise information, encouraging professionals in the sector to update themselves in relation to new algorithms and computational languages. This moment was marked by a change in paradigms, in which the forestry sector, previously limited to sampling, began to understand the total behavior of forest areas on centimeter scales, and like any biological asset, it was realized that the variability of forests is a challenge which can only be overcome through precision sil vi culture aligned with the Forest 4.0 concept.

At the operational level, the use of a global satellite navigation system, on-board computers and drones are the basis for implementing Forest 4.0. Consequently, there has been a trend in the scope of forest planning towards the use of advanced geotechnologies and the agility of obtaining information. We are currently entering the third phase, precisely at a challenging time faced by the forestry sector in terms of labor.

Competition between companies in the market intensifies the shortage of qualified professionals. In this scenario, the exploration of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence becomes essential. Bracell's forestry planning and control area stands out through highly efficient Geoprocessing Management. qualified and equipped with state-of-the-art tools to ensure a balance between quality, productivity and cost.

The use of modern drones with imaging and scanning sensors linked to geotechnology and artificial intelligence represents the pinnacle of modernization. This approach allows planning, execution, monitoring and harvesting of forests based on precise information, in addition to providing assertive forecasts to guide decisions with future projection.

The company's investment in state-of-the-art drones is a differentiator. Equipment with high operational capacity, modern sensors for accurate data collection, computers with high processing capacity, in addition to a team of professionals qualified in remote sensing, dedicated to analyzing a large amount of data, monitoring the performance of forests and developing new methodologies to support the company's decisions in all spheres, from macro strategies to daily operations.

To make the implementation of solutions based on remote sensing possible, it is necessary to recognize the value of the robustness of in-sourced teams. From drone teams to professionals responsible for modeling and analyzing information, aiming to ensure consistency in the operationalization of products. This specialized and focused team demands a high level of excellence in the use of advanced geotechnologies.

The maturity achieved was fundamental for the implementation of several remote sensing solutions at Bracell in recent years. From prospecting areas, through operational planning, monitoring From planting to the arrival of wood at the factory, technology is present in every detail. The gains in precision, productivity and cost reduction, aligned with the customer's vision, solidify Bracell's position as a reference in the sector.

Drones and their various sensors play a crucial role in initiatives related to the concept of environmental, social and corporate governance. Practical examples include using the LiDAR sensor to plan land use. An active sensor that allows the construction of three-dimensional models of the terrain. This resource enables precise planning of topography and planting alignment activities, in line with best practices for soil conservation.

Furthermore, the same sensor plays a crucial role in monitoring the profile of native forests. By recognizing the structure of these forests, it is possible to model and improve the calculations of carbon stocks, contributing to the preparation of sustainability reports and supporting the company's long-term strategies, in accordance with the Bracell 2030 commitment, made up of the company's ambitious goals aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Another example is the application of Artificial Intelligence to the images captured by drones, enabling the counting of seedlings in the total area of the plots, eliminating the need for some types of sampling. It also allows an audit of forestry processes to guarantee the quality of operations by issuing automated and georeferenced alerts for areas with an incidence of failures, low growth and competitive weeds, optimizing time, better team sizing and providing localized treatments.

It is important to highlight that the solutions mentioned above are the state of the art in the application of technology in synergy between the areas of Remote Sensing, Forest Quality and Silviculture, demonstrating a commitment to the search for continuous improvement. While technology enthusiasts, it is crucial to recognize the challenges associated with accelerated innovation. It is necessary to remember that images from drones, satellites, LiDAR, radars and other technologies have generated an immense and complex amount of data with great power to add value to processes, called Big Data.

Are companies and people prepared for change? Changing patterns, processes and people is challenging, but must be faced. To thrive in the age of innovation, promoting a culture of continuous learning is essential. Only in this way can we guarantee the success of the sector and the development of professionals.