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21st-Century Forest Thinning

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Sacramento – Tuolumne County will benefit from new CAL Fire grants that will increase California’s capacity to establish healthy, resilient forests through workforce and business development.

The CAL Fire Wood Products and Bioenergy Team has awarded $6.4 million in new grant agreements. Nine grants were awarded statewide and will advance new technologies for forest operations and utilization of forest fuels for lumber, energy, and other useful products, according to CAL Fire.

Included in those grants are four business projects that will increase the pace and scale of forest restoration. One of those businesses, Kodama Systems, Inc., a new start-up in the Sonora area of Tuolumne County, will create internet connectivity at forest operation sites and advance remote operation of heavy equipment. It received a $299,898 grant. With those funds, Kodama Systems will deploy and demonstrate technologies that improve forest thinning productivity and expand access to labor by leveraging technology originally developed for the construction and mining industries.

Kodama Systems forest equipment pictured on its website
Kodama Systems forest equipment pictured on its website

CAL Fire noted, “Kodama will establish internet access at the landing, equip machines with sensors to measure uptime and productivity, and implement a skidder teleoperation proof-of-concept from the landing. The projected impact of Kodama’s technology-powered forest thinning service is 25,000 acres per year by 2025, enabling California forests to store an additional 150,000 tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).”

The carbon dioxide equivalent is the number of metric tons of CO2 emissions with the same impacts as one metric ton of another greenhouse gas.

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