Baum 4.0: Connecting Trees in Bavaria

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Baum 4.0: Connecting Trees in Bavaria

A common beech in Augsburg, Germany, has been connected to the internet and now broadcasts some of it’s vital values via the internet. As a part of the Project „Baum 4.0“ (Baum = german word for tree) the Mayor and forest advisor of Augsburg Eva Weber together with Prof. Dr. Annette Menzel of the Technical University (TU) Munich jointly switched on the wires of the connected tree.

Values of juice flow, leaf temperature, air temperature or soil moisture are now available here. Tree 4.0 is a project of municipal forest management and the chair of eco-climatology at TU Munich. The 30-meter-high tree close to a bridge over the Hauptstadtbach was carefully selected. „The tree stands at a prominent crossing point and is easily accessible to citizens. The city forest is dear not only to me personally, but to many Augsburgers, and we want to show them in a vivid way what shape the trees are in” said forest advisor Eva Weber.

In the past months, the necessary hardware was installed to the tree. The selected beech almost instantaneously sends measurement data concerning growth, vital functions and water content to the Internet. Using this data, citizens can immediately see the effects climate and weather have on trees in Augsburg.
„Baum 4.0“ is part of the federal project BAYSICS (Bavarian Synthesis Information Citizen Science Portal for Climate Research and Scientific Communication), which is promoted within the Bavarian Climate Research Network of the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and Art.

Trees are important carbon storage and serve climate protection. Faced with advancing climate change with more frequent and stronger dry periods and/or heat waves, it is important to highlight the growth and current physiological processes of the trees in response to heat stress and water shortages. It is clear that the forest is increasingly suffering from climate extremes,

explained Annette Menzel, professor of ecoclimatology at TU Munich and scientific speaker of the Bavarian Climate Network.

In total there will be four cross-linked sensor trees in Bavaria. Selected trees in Munich, Eichstaett and Berchtesgaden are supposed to transmit data in this year. All trees are fitted with various sensors and a webcam. These capture the soil temperature and the soil moisture, from the root through the stem to the crown-guided water (juice flow), the diameter change of the stem as well as the leaf temperature and annual leaf development. Through these different locations in Bavaria, climate and local meteorological effects could be measured and compared.
Data from the sensors on the BAYSICS platform will be transmitted once daily. Anyone who is interested can retrieve current values for tree status.
The Augsburg Talking Tree is part of the city’s program “Augsburg breathes – for good living in the city”. It bundles and communicates existing and new projects from the areas of mobility, air cleaning, sustainability, environment and climate protection. These themes are made publicly effective, transparent and understandable. The aim is to sensitize, motivate and participate the entire city society in accordance with the city’s future guidelines. The sustainable balance of ecological, economic, cultural and social qualities should, in addition, be developed jointly by new ideas and projects step by step in a good urban life.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: Pixabay

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