The Malaysian Forestry Department are trialling RFID technology to detect illegal logging activities.
In recent months we’ve seen RFID technology employed in many different ways, with a recent example being the potentially life-saving Where Abouts system, which alerts farmers when children are near their machinery. Now in Malaysia, RFID is being trialled to help the Forestry Department detect illegal logging activities. Dr Abdul Rahman — Director General at the Forestry Department — told The Star at this month’s 16th Malaysian Forestry Conference that the decision to use RFID was spurred by pressure from the European Union to guarantee that exported wood products were harvested in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. Although The Star report does not detail the mechanics of the system, it is presumably similar to the preliminary pilot scheme, in which trees were individually fitted with RFID tags. This made it possible to record each one felled legally, which in turn meant each tree could be subsequently traced. Dr Rahman said he hopes RFID will enable the Forestry Department to find and stop the illegal loggers destroying forest reserves, and that if the trial is successful and forestry controls are in place, “the Government will be able to export licences that meet EU standards and combat illegal logging”. With increasing pressure on governments to monitor and ensure sustainable farming, could we see RFID used to limit excess and illegal harvesting of other natural resources? Spotted by: Raymond Neo