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  • Ben Jones

Brandenburg Startup Aims to Prevent Forest Fires with New Technology

Dryad Networks to Research New Sensors with Federal Support

forest landscape with funder logos

In 2022, over 4,300 hectares of forests in Germany fell victim to wildfires, resulting in a staggering €600 million in damages. The German Weather Service calculates the Forest Fire Danger Index using meteorological data and models. However, this index doesn't account for the moisture level of the forest organic litter, a crucial factor in assessing the risk of forest fires. This oversight often leads to an underestimation of the forest fire danger, causing preventive measures for forest protection to be implemented too late. Recognizing this gap, Dryad has made it the focus of their research.

Dryad aims to develop a novel sensor-based system to measure moisture in organic forest floor litter. This innovation promises to provide more accurate and precise modeling of forest fire risks in the future. Moisture measurement in the forest will be achieved using affordable, solar-powered, AI-assisted, and LoRaWAN-enabled ultrasonic or radar sensors. The data collected will be used to create precise and high-resolution forest fire indices for various forest areas and regions.

What's particularly remarkable about the new ultrasonic or radar sensors under development is that they operate on solar power, eliminating the need for batteries. They measure the moisture levels of different types of forest floor litter above the forest floor.

During the 12-month research project titled "Innovative Moisture Measurement of Organic Litter Layers for Highly Granular Modeling of Regional Forest Fire Risks" (IFSW), laboratory prototypes of these innovative sensors for forest use will be developed and rigorously tested.

The IFSW project is receiving approximately €198,000 in support from the German Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV) as part of the mFUND innovation initiative.

Upon completion of the project, the collected data will be made available as open data on the BMDV's Mobility Library online.

About Dryad Networks GmbH:

Dryad Networks GmbH is an IoT startup based in Berlin-Brandenburg. Dryad's vision is to establish an extensive IoT network that enables both public and private forest owners to monitor, analyze, and protect the world's most vulnerable forests. Their initial solution, Silvanet, focuses on the ultra-early detection of forest fires, able to spot smoldering fires within minutes. By significantly reducing response times, Dryad is playing a pivotal role in preventing forest fires. These fires are responsible for up to 20% of global CO2 emissions and have devastating impacts on biodiversity. Dryad's ambitious goal is to safeguard 3.9 million hectares of forest from wildfires, prevent 1.7 billion tons of CO2 emissions, rescue countless wildlife, and mitigate substantial economic losses by 2030.

About the BMDV's mFUND Program:

Since 2016, the German Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (BMDV) has been providing support for research and development projects in the realm of data-driven digital innovations for Mobility 4.0 through the mFUND program. This project funding is coupled with active networking among stakeholders from politics, business, administration, and research, and it includes the provision of open data on the Mobility Library. More information can be found at

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