A Lumberjack's Friend
RFID helps loggers track their timber
Managing a forest has become a high-tech endeavour. Companies can now use RFID to track logs from the time a lumberjack chops down a tree until the log reaches the sawmill.
This can come in handy since the process may take weeks and numerous contractors handle the logs, making it difficult to get an overview of the process. With RFID, companies can better monitor their supply chains and bring costs down for the end consumer.
What’s more, you can know for sure that your beautiful new, wooden patio furniture is made from legitimate lumber rather than from a protected species of tree. According to some estimates, some 32 million acres of forest are lost to illegal logging each year.
Environmental activists have developed systems for tracking logs and verifying their origin by testing the DNA of a tree. The test results can be compared to information stored on a log’s RFID tag.
Other environmentalists and city managers don’t wait until a tree has been harvested to attach an RFID tag. In Paris, for example, trees are RFID tagged so that their health, status and care can be tracked. Of course, identifying the trees is a lot easier with RFID than typical tree tags, since it can be done at a distance.
In Washington state, RFID tagged trees have even become a tourist attraction. A tree tour at the University of Washington campus was automated with RFID. The RFID tags replace old-fashioned nameplates that often get removed or damaged over the years. They are inserted into a tree, and the bark eventually grows around the RFID tag, protecting it. Tour participants can use their handheld readers to find out more about the trees they see as they roam around campus.
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