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Finding opportunity from forests of data

How Trakka is helping sustainably grow the forestry and beef industries in northern Australia.


  • Multi-stakeholder project including industry, government and universities.

  • Many fragmented data sources were consolidated into a single place where it could be analysed by different project stakeholders.

  • Data standards laid the foundations for the collected data to be leveraged into future projects, building the client's data legacy strategy.

Project partners

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The project

3 min read

The problem

  • TerraCipher worked with Timber Queensland on a CRC for Northern Australia project to explore opportunities for silvopastoralism (integrated forestry and livestock production) as a vehicle for new commercial tree plantings.

  • The work involves quantifying the benefits for combining cattle and tree enterprises at a property near Townsville, by measuring different tree planting and cattle management options to identify the best financial and environmental opportunities.

  • Quantifying each of the enterprises requires measurements of several different components – for example, cattle growth is recorded using automated weight monitoring, as well as a manual weighing. The project team also tracks cattle movements, pasture production and a number of tree production parameters to measure growth and future commercial wood yields.

  • The combination of biophysical and financial parameters together with large amounts of data collected spatially over time requires an effective way to capture, store and retrieve relevant information for research and demonstration purposes.

  • This project involves a variety of organisational input and different types of data being recorded, with all this data needing to be integrated in a seamless way to meet the project outcomes.

  • Accessing the data can come from lots of different manual and automated systems, which need to be brought together into a single data source.

  • Typically, data sharing is done on an ad-hoc basis, but the data collected in this project has long-term value and needs to be available for all project partners to be able to identify different opportunities.


A site near Cardwell where the project of running cattle in forestry is being trialled. Picture: Timber Queensland

The solution

  • Our Trakka software provides a unique tool that can handle multiple data inputs and ensure rapid data movements. Using a state-of-the-art messaging brokering platform Trakka allows the team to deliver a range of automated and manual data exchanges.

  • This platform is being used to integrate the various data streams and includes validation checks to deliver single event based standardised data formats.

  • The Trakka data standards marketplace provides a unique tool that allows all the data contributors to have oversight on the project data standards. Clear understanding on who owns the data is established at the start of the project.

  • The data is held in a consolidated database where all partners can access copies of the complete data set. Subsets of the data can be accessed quickly and easily.

  • All the data is checked and validated before it goes into the database. 

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Project team and partners at recent site field day. Picture: Timber Queensland

Key benefits

  • The Trakka software improves the quality of the data captured and stored, and the ability to access the data, to help the project meet its research outcomes.

  • The efficiency of managing the data from the point it is recorded, through to storage, including all the checks, offers significant benefits to industry.

  • All project participants are aware of the data sharing agreements upfront, and all participants can access the project data – even if they didn't collect it.

  • One of the greatest benefits of this approach is that data standards and requirements are discussed at the commencement of the project. The TerraCipher team help facilitate an open conversation about how the data processes can be designed, to not only optimise individual needs, but also to deliver to a broader set of questions both current and for the future.

  • The platform enables a broader set of producers to engage directly with the project.

  • Accessing the data standards marketplace and being able to automatically pass data through to models developed in the project will ensure the project is able to maximise the industry benefits.

Benefits to industry

  • Silvopastoralism offers opportunities to produce more timber while assisting the cattle industry address challenges, such as CN30 through carbon storage in trees, and positioning northern Australian producers to access markets which are increasingly requiring carbon neutral beef.

  • The data we help manage allows project participants to develop new models that can quantify the benefits of integrated cattle and tree production, as well as demonstrating the broader environmental benefits.

  • The findings from the project will inform new multi-enterprise financial models. 

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Pasture alleys between pine rows.

Picture: Timber Queensland

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Trakka enables research participants to share their data with multi-stakeholder research projects. It manages the data sharing agreements between project participants and ensures data integrity. All data exchanged is validated to ensure data quality.

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