Regulation and Transformation

The proliferation of digital technologies within and in relation to forests is now contributing to distinct practices for regulating and transforming these environments. Techniques such as “precision forestry” use UAVs, sensors, computer models, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to expedite reforestation initiatives by automating environmental management.

Digital technologies such as UAVs and their networks are used in support of reforestation and to respond to specific environmental objectives, policies, and targets that are often formed through practices of planetary governance. 1 In the process, these practices are organizing approaches to forests as technologies that are meant to offer “natural climate solutions” by optimizing and augmenting forest processes.

Droneseed: Demonstration of reforestation technology

As digital devices and data practices proliferate in forests spaces, so too do forests transform into environmental infrastructures. 2 Smart forest technologies and systems thus contribute to the reworking of what a forest is and how it operates. Such a point of orientation could expand existing approaches to smart and digital technologies, while reworking conventional understandings of what counts as a technology, by researching how forests transform into technologies through technical and policy interventions.


  1. Lövbrand, E, Stripple, J (2006) The climate as political space: On the territorialisation of the global carbon cycle. Review of International Studies 32(2): 217–235.
  2. Bruun Jensen, C (2015) Experimenting with political materials: Environmental infrastructures and ontological transformations. Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory 16(1): 17–30.