Enhancing Tree-Planting Efficiency and Safety through Heart Rate Monitoring

1 Dec 2023


At Forestme, our commitment to performance in environmental sustainability projects is matched by our dedication to the well-being and efficiency of our workforce. In a pioneering move, we have integrated Suunto smartwatches into our tree-planting projects, enabling real-time heart rate monitoring of our planters. This case study explores the impact of this innovative approach on both our workers' safety and our projects' overall efficiency.


It’s clear that the world requires more trees in the coming decades, and while technology is seeing rapid advances, manual planting remains a fundamental force, responsible for vast quantities of global tree planting.
Tree planting is a physically demanding task that poses various challenges, and one of our main concerns is ensuring the safety and maintaining the health of our planters. Traditionally, monitoring the physical condition of our workforce in the field has been challenging, often relying on self-reported data, which can be inaccurate or delayed. This often leads to burnout and injury.


Our primary challenge was to find an efficient way to monitor the well-being of our planters in real time, ensuring their safety while maximising their productivity. We needed a non-intrusive, accurate solution that could provide immediate feedback.

We decided to record average heart rate because it's a reliable indicator of physical exertion. By monitoring the average heart rate, we can assess how hard the body is working. If the average heart rate is consistently high, it might indicate that the workers are overexerting themselves, which can lead to physical strain or exhaustion.


We chose to implement Suunto smartwatches, renowned for their precision in heart rate monitoring and GPS systems. These watches provided us with a relatively easy way to continuously monitor our planters’ heart rate and planting routes, giving us insights into their physical exertion and locations.


The implementation involved equipping each planter with a Suunto smartwatch. We conducted training sessions to familiarise them with the device and its functionality. Our project managers were trained to monitor the data and respond to any signs of excessive strain or fatigue.


Conditions that increased average heart rate:

- The start of each project/week
- During extreme heat (summer planting or +35°C)
- Periods in which planters worked longer than +9 hours daily.


Improved Safety: Continuous monitoring allows for the early identification of signs of overexertion or stress. This early detection is crucial in preventing more serious health issues like extreme fatigue.
Increased Efficiency:  Real-time data allowed us to optimise workloads, increasing daily planting rates.
Positive Feedback: Planters reported feeling more secure and supported, knowing their health was being monitored.
Data-Driven Decisions: The heart rate data provided valuable insights for future project planning and workforce management.

How we plant to improve our planting service:

1. Customise Workloads: Understanding the average heart rate patterns can help in customising workloads for individual workers. For example, if certain workers show higher average heart rates, they might be assigned less physically demanding tasks or given more frequent breaks.
2. Enhance Recovery Strategies: Monitoring heart rates can inform better recovery strategies. If the average heart rate is high, it might suggest the need for longer rest periods, better hydration, or nutritional support to aid in recovery.
3. Create A Safer Work Environment: Regular monitoring of heart rates demonstrates a commitment to creating a safe and healthy work environment. This can improve worker morale and trust, as it shows that the company cares about their well-being.
4. Data-Driven Decision Making: Pursuing similar future-focused programs will enable Forestme to learn rapidly and adapt to changing industry conditions. Maintaining a long-term approach will help us drive progress.


The integration of Suunto smartwatches into our tree-planting projects has proven to be a resounding success. It has enhanced the safety and efficiency of our operations while also providing valuable data to inform our future initiatives. This innovative approach underscores Forestme's commitment to leveraging technology for environmental sustainability and worker well-being.

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© 2024 Forestme®. All rights reserved.

© 2024 Forestme®. All rights reserved.

© 2024 Forestme®. All rights reserved.