Under the Canopy: Why We Funded Trefo

Dorm Room Fund is excited to announce our investment in Trefo, a robotic forestry startup founded by Penn Ph.D. student Steven Chen and CMU Ph.D. graduate Dr. Michael Shomin. Trefo tackles the age-old, yet critical, problem of forest surveying — an essential metric for landowners, governments, and private institutions looking to manage forests, track carbon emissions, and fight climate change. Trefo leverages autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and computer vision to extract forest metrics with pinpoint accuracy and precision.

Forest surveying: a decades old technology

Forest surveys are both critical and necessary for timberland landowners to manage their forests. Beyond inventory management, forest surveys also play a key part in the fight against climate change — helping quantify carbon emissions, wildfire statistics, and other tangibles.

But how are forest surveys conducted? The current state of the art involves people walking and measuring trees by hand. In fact, for the past 50 years, this manual data collection process has been the industry standard. Recently, above-canopy sensing technologies have tried to tackle these inefficiencies, but have been unable to reach manual levels of precision.

Want to read the rest? Check out the full-length article on our blog.

Written by Daniel Bessonov, Dorm Room Fund Partner (Philly). Photo by David Vig on Unsplash.

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