Hitachi India, a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., and Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST), an institute under Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education under Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India have collaborated to implement a SMART Forest initiative. Hitachi India has undertaken this project as a CSR activity and is deploying IoT technology towards e-protection and conservation of high value forest species like sandalwood and rosewood.
The project entails a feasibility study to develop a solution for timely detection and prevention of unauthorized axing/ chopping-off of valuable trees, which would indirectly monitor the health and growth of these trees, thereby contributing to the social goal of conserving forests and protecting flora and fauna and providing a sustainable solution to meet this objective.
Hitachi India and IWST signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last year towards implementing the SMART Forest initiative. The collaborative CSR research project is being carried out at Rural Bangalore/IWST campus Malleshwaram Bengaluru.
Hitachi is funding this as a CSR initiative and also has deployed its Hitachi Anomaly Detection To Prediction and Prescription (HAD2P) technology for monitoring and detection of illegal cutting and movement of high value trees. The IoT sensors have been deployed by Atto Communication which would send the disturbance information and location of tree. Hitachi’s HAD2P technology analyses the disturbance to the trees and alarm is triggered which intimates the concerned authority to take precautionary actions.
The Indian sandalwood tree is becoming endangered and smuggling of sandalwood has created socio-economic (deforestation and forest conservation) and law & order problems. Despite efforts by forest department, illegal cutting and smuggling of sandalwood continues unabated.
The Government of India estimates the sandalwood market to be Rs. 10,000 Crores annually (approximately US$2 billion) and losing some thousand Crores of rupees in smuggling as reported by police department. Government is designing various methods to control this menace of sandalwood smuggling. To increase the effectiveness of govt effort, there is a need for an automated system for longer lasting solution to Indian sandalwood conversations.