Palmear: Scaling Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Global Impact

Technology is evolving at an unprecedented rate, integrating into every aspect of society. It was only a matter of time before pests became victims to the world’s technological advancements. No longer undetectable, pests’ presence can be identified within seconds, using Palmear’s AI and acoustics technology. Palmear’s utilization of AI and acoustics is equipping its users with the tools and data they need to early detect pests before it’s too late.

Image 1: Palmear tech. Source: Palmear camera

Climate Change and Pest Ecology

With climate change the atmosphere of the 21st century, it affects everything we know and this includes increasing and advancing pest and insect populations globally. Climate change is permitting pests to spread to areas that they previously would not have been able to survive in, advancing throughout agricultural and forestry ecosystems. The positive feedback associated with pests is this; warmer temperatures bring more widespread pests, causing trees and crops to die and temperatures to rise, which consequently increases persistent pests populations.

Image 2: Rhinoceros beetle. Source: Palmear camera

Warming temperatures influence pest populations in several ways, including their development and survival rate; seasonal timing of life-cycle events; range expansion; population dynamics, and trophic interactions. These alterations in pest ecology mean that farmers need to be more prepared to predict and manage pest infestation ahead of time. Globalization has also impacted pest infestation, due to species being able to cross borders and invade non-native countries.

The problem with pests is that they are hard to detect. Wood boring pests are insects that eat and destroy trees from the inside, causing severe structural damage. Their larvae have highly conserved morphology which allows them to remain hidden in the bark where they continue to feed and grow until adulthood. Their presence can go undetected for years until the internal structure of the tree is so damaged, the tree needs to be cut down.

Transforming Pest Detection with Palmear

Image 3: A farmer using Palmear tech to inspect a palm tree

Palmear’s technology allows for the early detection of pests via acoustic sensors and early detection AI software. Users push a small needle inside a tree for 50 seconds, which uses acoustic censoring to detect the presence of pests at an early stage, allowing for early target pest interventions. Palmear’s platform provides an accessible way for governments, municipalities and plantations to survey and predict pest infestations, promoting data-driven decisions at scale. This highly sensitive and innovative solution to pest detection is crucial if farmers and governments are to manage future pest infestations, protect trees, and document invasive species and pest distribution globally.

Early pest detection can have huge benefits. It can save farmers millions by protecting their produce; “Pests destroy up to 40% of global crops and cost $220 billion of losses” each year.

Detecting pests also has environmental benefits, preventing millions of trees, essential for carbon sequestration and global biodiversity, from being cut down. It also prevents the widespread application of pesticides that contaminate the surrounding ecosystem, and are detrimental to other beneficial insects, such as bees. Palmear’s technology can therefore provide several benefits socially, ecologically, and economically, and has global application and scalability.

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