Special Issue "Forestry Robotics and Digital Forest Operations (Special Issue in Collaboration with ICRA 2022 IFRRIA Workshop)"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Operations and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2023 | Viewed by 1062

Special Issue Editors

Dr. David Portugal
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Systems and Robotics, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Coimbra - Polo II, 3030-290 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: multi-robot systems; mobile robotics; localization; mapping; graph theory; sensor fusion; artificial perception
Dr. João Filipe Ferreira
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Computational Neuroscience and Cognitive Robotics Research Group (CNCR), Department of Computer Science, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham NG1 4FQ, UK
Interests: artificial perception and cognition in robotics
Dr. Francisco J. Yandún
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Field Robotics Center, The Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890, USA
Interests: agricultural machinery; image processing; Bayesian estimation; sensor fusion; machine learning

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The increasing lack of manpower and the progressive abandonment of rural areas and practices such as pastoralism have driven forestry to become increasingly mechanized in order to increase productivity. However, the development of autonomous robotic solutions for precision forestry is still at a very early stage. Harsh conditions have thus far made it impossible to provide effective and realistic means to assist human teams in forestry operations using robots.

This Special Issue will showcase this exciting and important area of application, reflecting the current state of the art by addressing the challenges faced and presenting recent achievements in research on forestry robotics. It will bring together some of the contributions presented at the IEEE ICRA 2022 Workshop on Innovation in Forestry Robotics: Research and Industry Adoption (IFRRIA, https://labs.ri.cmu.edu/ifrria-icra-2022/).

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Artificial sensing and perception for forestry robotics;
  • Multisensory systems and fusion (LIDAR, depth cameras, multispectral imaging, etc.);
  • Neural networks and machine learning approaches (semantic mapping, object detection, dynamic tracking, etc.);
  • Localization and mapping;
  • Inventory, monitoring and wildfire fighting applications;
  • Outdoor (semi-)autonomous navigation, traversability and locomotion of UGVs and/or UAVs for robots in the wilderness;
  • Multi-robot and swarm robotic systems: coordination, formation control, cooperative perception, teamwork and communication aspects, and forest exploration;
  • Planning and decision-making architectures for forestry robotics under high uncertainty;
  • Design of autonomous ground machines and aerial systems for forestry;
  • Self-adaptation and learning in forestry environments;
  • Reasoning, planning and decision-making for forestry operations;
  • Human-robot interaction and safe co-operation for forestry;
  • Datasets, benchmarking, evaluation methods and innovate methodologies in forestry missions;
  • Ethical, legal, societal, economic and safety aspects of autonomous forestry machinery operation and development.

Dr. David Portugal
Dr. João Filipe Ferreira
Dr. Francisco J. Yandún
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • field robotics
  • precision forestry
  • forest machinery
  • artificial perception
  • multi-robot systems

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Comparative Evaluation of Mobile Platforms for Non-Structured Environments and Performance Requirements Identification for Forest Clearing Applications
Forests 2022, 13(11), 1889; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13111889 - 10 Nov 2022
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The effort to automate is present across all industries. It has an economic purpose but potential impacts go far beyond economics. Research has been carried out and a lot of investment has been made in automation in a variety of industries, as well [...] Read more.
The effort to automate is present across all industries. It has an economic purpose but potential impacts go far beyond economics. Research has been carried out and a lot of investment has been made in automation in a variety of industries, as well as in agriculture and forestry, which resulted in efficient solutions for diverse applications. In fact, more solutions have emerged in the field of agriculture than in any other. This can be explained in economic terms, but also in light of the complex navigation required because of unstructured environments such as forests. This paper provides a comprehensive review of existing mobile platforms and presents a comparative study for an application in forest clearing. We evaluate the size, automation levels, traction, energy source, locomotion systems, sensors/actuators availability and tools that such an application must have to succeed in its function. Hence, it will be possible to evaluate the feasibility of retrofitting an existing platform into an electric unmanned ground vehicle for forest clearing or if it is easier to start development from scratch. The evaluation results reveal that an electric unmanned ground vehicle for forest clearing is currently unavailable in the market and that a new platform is needed. The performance requirements for such a platform are identified and proposed in the paper. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Sensing and Artificial Perception for Robots in Precision Forestry - a Survey
Authors: João F. Ferreira and David Portugal
Affiliation: Institute of Systems and Robotics Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Coimbra - Polo II 3030-290 Coimbra Portugal

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