How ePlant’s TreeTags Could Revolutionize Agricultural and Forestry Management in a Time of Rapid Change
TreeTags, a new technology that allows trees to “speak” to humans, could potentially revolutionize how we monitor and conserve forests and farms in the future.
We Rely on Trees
Throughout the world, forests make up the backbone of ecological systems. On a broad scale, they help the environment by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. On a more local scale, they provide shelter from the sun for ground cover and other plants and animals who live alongside them.
However, this doesn’t mean that trees themselves aren’t vulnerable to changes in the climate. Like any other species worldwide, trees are susceptible to water supply disruptions, annually rising temperatures, and habitat loss, among other factors.
Those invested in protecting and conserving trees and forests need factual, up-to-date, and useful information to prevent trees from dying off en masse.
A new technology using AI and TreeTags to effectively “talk” to trees could be a major step toward providing the information we need. This is how ePlant’s TreeTags could change our world.
How Do TreeTags Work?
The technology uses a plunge and screw device to hold TreeTags in place and, through it, gathers information regarding tree growth, irrigation, stress, temperature, and humidity.
It then sends the TreeTag information to the cloud, presenting it to the user as a conversation using ChatGPT. This effectively allows the tree to communicate with the user like another human would, easing the difficulty of understanding what that tree specifically needs most.
The TreeTags are solar-powered, so no wires or cables are needed to keep the device running. This technology could be revolutionary, as researchers could use these devices in a forest with multiple species, understanding exactly what each tree species needs most.
On the other hand, it could also be greatly appreciated by orchard owners, who better understand which trees in their orchard need more attention than others.
A major application is in urban environments, where nearly 50% of trees planted die within the first seven years. TreeTag could allow those responsible for those trees to be made aware of damage or changes that must be made long before it’s too late.
Graham Hine, co-founder of ePlant, said there are major benefits to understanding which trees are most effective at carbon capture. “How effectively a forest captures carbon can be measured directly and daily by this type of system. Some of the forward-leaning carbon credit organizations are looking at how to use instruments like ours. It’s inexpensive enough to deploy at scale.”
While AI is Scary, This Isn’t
Many have fears surrounding AI, and rightly so, as there are expected job losses that will occur as a result of the efficiency of AI. However, this doesn’t mean we should shy away from the future; we should implement it in ways that make sense.
Using effective sensors and generative speech, we can give ourselves the information to make effective decisions regarding our world’s forests. Since the technology is cheap enough, this technology can be deployed rapidly, accelerating the monitoring and conservation of trees.
While, as of right now, you might not be able to physically talk to the tree in your backyard, with this technology, you can know exactly what your tree needs most from you. And you can know this before it’s too late to save it.