AI Algorithms Help Support Tree Farming, Planting, and Mapping Operations Around the Globe


An agricultural technology startup SeeTree has recently received $3 million in funding from Orbia Ventures, helping the startup accomplish its mission of digitizing farmed trees. The company represents a growing trend of employing AI algorithms to support the growth of trees around the globe.

In order to ensure the health of tree crops, tree farmers need to monitor the health of individual trees and predict how they might respond to changes in the environment. Tree farmers are turning to technological solutions that allow them to analyze the health of tree crops and optimize production, enabling less labor-intensive and more cost-effective solutions. SeeTree employs AI algorithms supported by drones, ground sensors, data scientists, and agronomists to create a more complete profile of a tree’s health.

The AI algorithms developed by SeeTree are just one example of how AI is being utilized to manage the planting and maintenance of trees around the world. Both NASA and Google have recently developed AI models intended to quantify tree canopy coverage around the world, based on aerial imagery.

Google has launched an initiative referred to as Tree Canopy Lab, based on a platform that is intended for use by city planners, helping them determine which regions of a city need more tree canopy cover. Tree Canopy Lab makes use of computer vision techniques and AI algorithms trained on aerial images of trees to produce maps that display the density of tree coverage. The lab lets users identify city blocks where a large number of trees could be planted, as well as determine which sidewalks are vulnerable to extremely high temperatures due to less shade. NASA is now using high-resolution aerial imagery and artificial intelligence to render highly precise maps of the Earth’s trees, pioneering a new method of tree mapping that has successfully cataloged millions of previously unmapped trees in arid and semi-arid biomes around the globe.

Ecological researchers, conservationists, and policymakers need to have accurate counts of trees within areas of interest. The data provided by the NASA model will be useful in determining how climate change impacts trees and wooded regions over years. In addition, determining how the density and size of trees vary in accordance with changes in average rainfall will provide conservation efforts with important on-the-ground data.

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