A group of scientists in Canada have announced a new initiative to utilise drones to plant new trees cheaply and quickly as part of an effort to fight against the negative effects of climate change and deforestation.
The Canadian company, Flash Forest, began testing its drone delivery systems in August, with a test flight that saw them successfully plant 100 trees with a drone. As the results were so encouraging, the team have expanded their goals to use their specially designed drone systems to plant a billion new trees by 2028.
Bryce Jones, team member of Flash Forest, comments:
“Every year the planet loses 13 billion trees and regains less than half of that. We started Flash Forest with the goal of healing the planets lungs and taking that job seriously. Until that job is done well, no other job matters.”
How Does It Work?
The drones don’t just carry seeds themselves, but pods of nutrient rich soil packed around three pre-germinated seeds like a casing, according to New Atlas. The nutrient rich padding can keep the germinated seeds alive for up to nine months, giving them plenty of time to take root in the local environment. Each drone will be capable of shooting around one pod per second into the ground and the system will allow a human pilot to operate as many as ten drones simultaneously.
The team have conducted subsequent flight tests since August which has equated to over 3,100 trees being planted with their drones, including White Spruce, White Pine, Blue Spruce, Red Maple, White Birch, Sugar Maple, Douglas Fir and Balsam Fir.
Flash Forest claim that their drone system can plant trees ten times faster than a human worker could do by hand, and for one-fifth of the cost. The group says that it won’t focus exclusively on trees but other kinds of plants that compliment certain kinds of trees for ‘full ecosystem recovery’.
The Power Of Reforestation
Last summer, a Brazilian couple showed the power of reforestation when they shared the results of their own twenty-year project to bring trees back to a 1750-acre piece of land that had previously been used for cattle grazing. The shocking results caused previously dry rivers to flow with water while more than 170 species of birds and 30 species of mammals returned to the forest cover after having previously departed due to a lack of shelter and food sources.