According to the Rainforest Action Network, billions of trees are felled every year, and planting trees requires more time and effort than felling. This is a step with the deforestation rates challenging for conservators. The minds behind one technology startup think they can accelerate global efforts in planting trees by taking the burden off people and putting it on drones.
BioCarbon Engineering has assembled a fleet of drones that can plant thousands of trees a day Fast Company reports. The company will soon focus its efforts on the Irrawaddy River delta in Myanmar, an area where rapid loss of mangrove trees due to aquaculture, agriculture and logging has been recorded. It is estimated that the amount of regional mangroves destroyed in the last 30 years is between 75 and 83 percent. From September, BioCarbon will partner with the Worldview International Foundation to help with the reconstruction effort initiated by the human hand.
Spreading semen from an airplane (like a helicopter) is not a new strategy. These methods are valued for their speed, but at the same time the chances of the tree surviving are compromised. In order to come up with an efficient planting method that does not damage the seeds, BioCarbon had to be innovative.
After the company maps the plot of land from above and analyzes the best places to plant, their drones fly low to the ground and shoot seeds full of nutrients into the ground. That way, more seeds will end up in places where they will thrive, rather than in rocks or streams where they will go to waste.
With one human pilot on every six drones, the company can drop 100,000 pods a day into the country. Even in places with regulations that limit pilots to one drone at a time, vehicles are 10 times faster and half as expensive as human labor. The Worldview International Foundation, which has so far collaborated with the Irrawaddy delta community on planting 750 acres of trees, hopes to expand the area by 250 acres with the help of BioCarbon Engineering. The team also plans to continue to employ local people to collect seed pods and process seedlings.
To take a closer look at their planting process, watch the video below.
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[h/t Fast Company]