Lithuanian Foresters and KTU Scientists against Timber Thieves

Important | 2015-10-14

In order to keep their national forests clean and safe, countries all over the world employ a large number of highly qualified foresters. Unfortunately, the most common parasite that these brave men and women are up against is a human being. Luckily, with the help of scientists from Kaunas University of Technology, our local foresters are now armed with a high-tech solution designed to facilitate the capture of forest crooks, at least those of the thieving kind.

North-eastern Europe is well known for its breath-taking rich forests which are not only an excellent place for healthy recreational activities but also a valuable source of income for many of its inhabitants. Needless to say, the majority seek to benefit from the natural riches lawfully. Some, however, attempt to profit from stealing the increasingly expensive forest gold – timber. Fortunately, thanks to a new tracking device designed by the scientists from the KTU faculty of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, the latter will find their unlawful agendas a lot harder to achieve.

The new version of the tracking device was designed in cooperation with a local forestry enterprise and presented at the annual exhibition Sprendimu Ratas 2015 (Circle of Solutions 2015) in the beginning of October. According to the KTU professor Vytautas Markevicius, the latest system aimed at preventing timber theft comprises a small tracking device which can be easily implanted into the timber mass. Once inserted, the tracker can transmit a signal to a mobile device (e.g., a phone or a tablet) for up to three months, allowing the owner to easily determine the location of the stolen merchandise. 

“We have been cooperating with the Sakiai District Forestry Enterprise for more than four years now. The technology itself is not entirely new, as the so called bugs have been used for quite a while now. However, we are constantly working on improving the existing technology. This year our researchers have presented the third and so far the most technologically advanced version of the device,” shared the professor.

Back in 2014 the Lithuanian government significantly increased the fines for damage caused to local forests (from EUR 11.58 to EUR 115.84 per cubic metre). This perfectly reflects the scope of the problem at hand. Therefore, the newly designed system will not only help to fight this economically and environmentally damaging crime, but also raise the much needed funds for environmental protection.

“We are extremely delighted that the technologies designed by our university researchers serve such a noble purpose. I believe that prompted by multiple cases of success, more and more enterprises will seek cooperation with the academic community in search of the most effective solutions to the most pressing issues,” commented the Dean of KTU faculty to Electrical and Electronics Engineering prof. A.Valinevicius.