Vodafone trials climate change technology solutions

By Georgia Wilson
Vodafone partners with Defra and Forest Research, trialing technology solutions to combat climate change...

In a recent announcement made by Vodafone, the company has partnered with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Forest Research to explore the use of technology to monitor the part trees can play to climate change.

The pilot trials will harness the internet of things (IoT) to monitor tree growth and the impact of environmental changes for UK forests. By connecting UK trees with IoT technology, the vast amount of data collected can be analysed quickly and efficiently.

As part of the collaboration specialist sensors have been attached to trees in two forests that are connected by Vodafone’s Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) network. This technology will allow the data to be collected and transmitted to Defra and Forest Research to be analysed by advanced analytics to assess the impact of temperature, humidity and soil moisture. 

Vodafone explains the importance of monitoring tree growth for scientists to estimate the contribution trees play within climate change mitigation due to their ability to absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere.

The three month trial is currently underway, with the results used to inform policy makers and the public on how the changing environment impacts tree growth and the benefits that trees provide by storing carbon.

“Tackling climate change requires radical thinking and our forests will be vital to this. Our IoT technology enables us to connect trees and monitor performance, which is a perfect example of how technology can be used in new ways to help create a more sustainable future,” commented Anne Sheehan, Director, Vodafone Business UK. 

“Trees are a unique natural resource that play a crucial role in combating the biodiversity and climate crises we face. This exciting partnership uses newly emerging IoT technologies to improve our understanding of the impacts of environmental change on our nation’s forests, which will help inform our policymaking. The new technology provides better quality data and importantly, allows us to monitor places that current technologies cannot reach,” commented Malcolm McKee, Chief Technology Officer at Defra.

“We are always looking for ways to explore how using innovative new technologies can improve our data gathering. This initial focus is on the monitoring of forests, but the technologies will be applicable to monitoring ‘anything’ in the environment,” added McKee.

“This innovative collaborative project has the potential to transform the way we are able to collect and analyse data, and to reduce the need for frequent site visits, especially at remote rural locations. The project will also help us to gather more data which is critical to targeting efforts to measure the contribution of individual trees to climate change. If the trial is successful, we hope it will expand to other areas of environmental monitoring and signify a step change in the amount of data we are able to collect and analyse,” commented Matthew Wilkinson, Research Scientist at Forest Research.

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Image source: Vodafone 

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