Reforestation Drone

High tech seed bombs dropped by drones.A very cool project: a company called Biocarbon Engineering has received seed funding to plant 1 billion trees every year, and they’re doing it with drones.

This excites me because they’re essentially using seed bomb technology, maybe without knowing it.  Regardless, what matters is the technology fits the goal, and the goal addresses the sweeping problem of global deforestation.

At some point, we probably have to consider how much talking about this issue is doing and just get out there and put new trees in the ground.

This team is using drone technology to do just that.  “Firing a pregerminated seed pod into the soil with pressurized air,” the drones fly over areas they’ve mapped as well as revisit them after planting to monitor tree growth.  The project also uses the drones to consider planting patterns and appropriate timing to give the tree seeds the best chance to take root.

The drones allow replanting to catch up with the pace of deforestation, which is so important.  The project leader says “We’re going to change the world, one billion trees at a time.”

The project won the UAE Drones for Good award. I think they deserve it. They’re not using the drones to simply broadcast dry seed over clearcuts, but using pregerminated seeds wrapped in nutrient gel. This closely resembles what seed bombs accomplish, albeit on a much more grassroots level.

Tree Hugger reflected conservatively on this project, saying, “even if you can’t plant thousands of seedlings per day, you certainly can plant and nurture at least a few appropriate trees in your yard or neighborhood each year, and with much more precision and care than any flying robot can.”

I agree.  And I love this project.