According to an estimate, we are taking 15 billion trees from our forests every year. This is a huge number. Despite this, the rate at which we are planting trees is about 9 million, which is a little more than half of what we are taking.
But so far we couldn’t do much about it, because until now, the only method that we knew for planting trees was through hand planting. But that’s history now. To change this BioCarbon Engineering, a UK-based company backed by drone manufacturer Parrot, has come up with the idea of planting trees using drones. An intelligent method, this one takes lesser time and is quite economic also.
Not just that, it can also plant trees in areas that are very remote and difficult to access.
Watch: BioCarbon Engineering Concept of Operations
The process involves a UAV for scanning the land’s topography for creating a 3D map for it. Then the most efficient planting pattern for that area is calculated using algorithms. The process further involves a drone loaded with germinated seeds that fires pods into the ground at a very controlled speed, which is roughly about 100,000 seeds a day. If we could scale up this from one drone to hundred drones, and reciprocate the idea in every country, within a few years time we can replenish the world with new forests.
Recently, 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. Now, if we can adopt such methods, there is no doubt that we cannot change the phenomena of climate change.
The minds behind BioCarbon Engineering have estimated that the system is about 10 times faster and costs only about 20% of the traditional methods. And because there is no heavy machinery involved, it is possible to plant trees in the remotest areas where there are no roads. The BioCarbon team has tested its technology in various locations and recently trialed reseeding historic mining sites in Dungog, Australia.
Elsewhere, a similar idea is being used by Oregon start-up DroneSeed, which 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.
It is estimated that the world loses between 74,000 and 95,000 square miles of forest a year – that’s an area the size of 48 football fields lost every minute.