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Developing a novel and cost-effective tree guard monitoring system against illegal pruning, fire and tree/wood smuggling



This project aims to develop a Tree Guard Monitoring System (TGMS), which is an automatic, continuous and scalable monitoring system against possible tree theft from places ranging from public country parks to institutional managed properties and to private gardens.  The Tree Guard Monitoring System will provide the functions of tree theft prevention, protection and monitoring to aid the tree management teams to devise proactive and reactive measures to safe guard trees.  It is especially vital to protect endangered tree species such as Aquilaria Sinensis and Buddhist Pine, which have special values in black markets.  Aquilaria Sinensis is known for having medicinal value in its tree resin as a pain reliever [5] while Buddhist Pine is known for having harbingers of fortune in feng shui.  Cross-border smuggling and tree theft cases of those trees have been reported occasionally for the last decade.

The Tree Guard Monitoring System will make use of various sensor technologies to continuously monitor tree statuses and detect for any abnormal activity being done to a tree, like sawing and hammering.  In addition, the TGMS will utilize various wireless technologies to form a scalable wireless mesh network for transmitting various sensor data to a control server.  The control server will further analyze the incoming sensor data and determine whether to issue a warning signal to corresponding management and operation parties.  Moreover, historical data will be analyzed for deriving activity patterns to improve the detection accuracy as well as establish preventive or predictive measures to safe guard those trees.

The project will develop the hardware devices having sensing and wireless communication capabilities for being attached to trees.  Each device will be capable of synthesizing various streams of sensor data to detect abnormal activities.  The project will also develop the data communication protocols to support various communication transmissions between different components in the mesh network.  Monitoring and analytics software will be developed to convert sensor information into warning signals.


Project In-charge:    Prof. C.H. Cheng

Duration:  May 2014 – Dec 2014

Sponsor(s):   The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Chung Chi College