BioCarbon Engineering, a UK-based company backed by drone manufacturer Parrot, has been using the flying robots to plant trees on a massive scale. It has come up with a method of planting trees quickly and cheaply. Not only that, but those areas which are unviable or not fertile can also be converted into growing land. The drones, which were developed by an ex-NASA engineer, are designed to fire off pre-germinated seed pods into the ground.
This machine has been made to plant trees exponentially faster than locals being forced to plant them by hand, and the method is far cheaper than traditional planting methods.
It can be assessed very simply that we are chopping down about 15 billion trees a year and planting about 9 billion. So every year 6 billion trees are lost.
BioCarbon has been working with conservational nonprofit worldwide International foundation in order to replant mangrove saplings in Myanmar. The evidence for its functioning can be assessed by checking the grownup saplings which have reached the height of 20 inches.
BioCarbon engineering co-founder Irina Fedorenko told that they now have a case confirmed of what species we can plant and in what conditions and ready to scale up our planting and replicate this success.”
Functioning of drone
First a drone scans the topography to create a 3D map. Then the most efficient planting pattern for that area is calculated using algorithms.
The seeds are fired at the rate of one per second into the ground by the drone loaded with seeds. Scale this up and 60 drone teams could plant 1 billion trees a year.
The BioCarbon team has tested its technology in various locations and recently trialed reseeding historic mining sites in Dungog, Australia. The associated engineers estimate that their method is much faster i.e. 10 times and the cost relies only 20% compared to hand planting. And because there is no heavy
machinery involved, it’s possible to plant in hard-to-reach areas that have no roads or steep, inaccessible terrain.
Another startup Oregon is attempting to create a new era of “precision forestry” with the use of drones to plant trees as well as spray fertilizer and herbicides.
At the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos this year, Norway announced a $ 400 million fund to kick-start investments in deforestation-free agriculture in countries that are working to reduce their forest and peat degradation.
With the advancement of agriculture every year vast land of forest is cleared on massive scale leading to deforestation and making way for the cultivation of crops including soy, palm oil and cocoa, as well as for beef farming.
If estimated between 74000 and 94000 square miles of forest is lost every year – that’s an area the size of 48 football fields lost every minute.
With the help of drone planting of 4 million trees can be taken up in course of year which will revolutionise the last seven years data worldview with Myanmar communities to plant over 6 million trees.
If two workers are trained to operate a fleet of 10 drones then planting of 400,000 trees per day can be accomplished. It's been assumed that if this proves successful the drones could soon help to resuscitate degraded landscapes around the world.