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RFID Aids Restoration of Australian Rainforest

A group of scientific organizations are deploying a network of up to 200 RFID-enabled sensor nodes that measure such things as temperature, humidity, soil moisture and wind speed, as well as identify animal species.
By Dave Friedlos
Dec 11, 2008Scientists in Australia have developed an innovative wireless sensor network (WSN) to monitor the environment and potentially restore endangered rainforests. The group has deployed 10 wireless solar-powered sensors in the Springbrook National Park, to measure such environmental factors as temperature, humidity, light, soil moisture and wind speed, and to relay that information to a central database located in Brisbane, Queensland.

Springbrook is part of the Gondwana Rainforest, which is included on UNESCO's World Heritage List for areas with outstanding heritage value. Up to 200 wireless sensors will be deployed over the next three years, including models with video and sound recorders, to provide details regarding the health of the ecosystem, fauna and flora.

This sensor node, deployed at Springbrook, measures wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity and leaf wetness, using a soil moisture sensor installed at the base of the pole. (Photo courtesy Queensland Environmental Protection Agency)

Aila Keto, president of the Australian Rainforest Conservation Society (ARCS) and an adjunct professor at the University of Queensland's School of Agronomy and Horticulture, says the WSN could revolutionize environmental monitoring and provide a cost-effective method for protecting and restoring environmentally sensitive rainforests.

"This is a wonderful, internationally significant project," Keto says. "The WSN will allow us to measure environmental conditions from climate change to soil moisture and water flow, and see the impact on plants and species. There is an abundance of life in the area, and we will be able to look at factors such as where species live, how they grow and what we can do to preserve them."


Chester Lennard 2008-12-11 04:20:02 PM
RFID? While this is an innovative use of wireless sensor networks and a very worthwhile environmental project, I find the title misleading. There does not seem to be any RFID technology deployed in this project! Misleading articles like this tend to further confuse the marketplace.

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