Optical cameras detect fire in the dark and cover 85% of the Porto Mountains Park, Verdadeiro Olhar

17 de May de 2023

The project was made public this Monday and involves a consortium of companies, universities and research centers for the valorization and defense of the forest

More than five thousand of the six thousand hectares of the Parque das Serras do Porto are as of today covered by four optical cameras, with a range of 10 kilometers and capable of detecting fire in the dark.

Called rePLANT, this is a technological project considered “unprecedented, which brings together companies, universities and research centers for the enhancement and defense of the forest”, and that was presented today at the Parque das Serras do Porto. It involves innovative technologies for forest and fire defense and management, revealed ForestWISE, the Collaborative Laboratory for Integrated Forest and Fire Management, in a statement.

Comprising six mountain ranges, Santa Justa, Pias, Castiçal, Santa Iria, Flores and Banjas, the park that covers the municipalities of Gondomar, Paredes and Valongo, in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, and has an extension of almost 6,000 hectares, will now be under the surveillance of the rePLANT project.

The “defense and management of the forest and fire”, through innovative technologies, is the goal of this project that involves “monitoring the forest through optical cameras already installed in that natural space and that help to simulate and predict the behavior of fire. New digital sensors and processes for forest machines and the use of robotics in forest clearing operations were also presented”.

“Develop the forest, make it safer and prove that people and machines can collaborate with each other, creating an ecosystem of greater active protection,” serves as the basis for this idea, supported by Compete/Portugal 2020, through the POCI and Lisbon 2020 programs.

rePLANT thus intends to “have an impact on the entire productive and business ecosystem of the forestry sector, improving the safety of populations with fire prevention and fighting systems, while reducing threats to biodiversity and increasing the resilience of the forest and infrastructure.

Also “innovate in the forest valorization, more productive, efficient and with less risk, ensuring the competitiveness of the sector,” is another aspect of rePLANT, says the press release.The technologies presented today “are part of a range of results and products that derive from this mobilizing project, which brings together the best technical and scientific knowledge of business and non-business entities,” representing “three years of work for the future of the forest, with solutions that contribute to its sustainable development and the enhancement of the entire forest value chain,” explained Carlos Fonseca, Scientific and Technological Director of CoLAB ForestWISE, which coordinates the project along with Navigator Forest Portugal.

The initiative, led by Navigator Forest Portugal and CoLAB ForestWISE, brought together the main partners of this idea, (REN, University of Coimbra, whereness, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Altri, INESC TEC, Trigger, Fravizel) in the presentation of four innovative projects that include Support Systems for Forest Fire Monitoring, Mobile Applications for Forest Inventory, Digital Integration of data in equipment throughout the value chain and New equipment for fuel management using robotics.

The first involves REN and the University of Coimbra which “installed surveillance systems on electricity poles located in the territory of the Parque das Serras do Porto, and which are “composed of optical and thermal cameras”. These systems have the function of “monitoring, protecting and anticipating the impact of rural fires on the forest, providing real-time images, with information about the weather and vegetation”.

Then, “the information collected allows us to know the quantity of trees, the volume, and other information of quantitative and qualitative nature, which are fundamental for proper planning,” and these mobile applications can be “used both by small owners and forestry associations, enabling a very reliable, low-cost, simple, and fast estimate,” the note also reveals.

Technological innovations have also been introduced, such as robots, which will clean the forest, cameras, and mobile applications, in order to manage the evolution of the new species planted, which contribute to the grand design of making the Parque das Serras available to the population.

It should be noted that rePLANT is a mobilizing project that brings together 20 entities, including leading companies in the sector and non-business entities, in a common and coordinated effort to contribute to a greater valorization of the Portuguese forest through the implementation of strategies for integrated forest and fire management.

The Portuguese forest is a source of environmental, social and economic wealth, mobilizing about 24 thousand companies and being responsible for about 100 thousand employees, as well as 10% of Portuguese exports.

In, Verdadeiro Olhar, 15 May 2023 (PT)