Plant a billion trees a year? This drone company’s response: ‘We can do that.’

We lose the equivalent of almost a football field worth of forest every second.

Community leader Luiz Lopes gives a tour of illegal logging near his town in Brazil. Photo by Mario Tama/ Getty Images.


We lose between 46,000 -5 8,000 square miles of forest every year, according to the World Wildlife Fund. If you do the math, that’s about 48 regulation football fields every minute.

Well over a billion people rely on woods for food and shelter. But unsustainable logging, clear-cutting, and other man-made activities are threatening our woodlands like never before.

The good news is that people are actively pushing back. There are major reforestation projects underway, and in some places, like Washington state in the U.S ., logging companies are required to replant any areas they harvest. But a couple of employees or volunteers with shovels and knapsacks only aren’t going to beat fleets of chainsaws and bulldozers.

To save our woodlands, it’s time to go high tech. Like, “flying aerial cannons” high tech.

One company, BioCarbon Engineering, wants to use flying drones to plant trees.

BioCarbon’s system use two dronings. The first is shaped like a small airliner and reads the land, scanning for obstacles and picking out the best places to plant trees. The drone then feeds this information to a bulky helicopter-like drone that flies over the areas, firing pre-germinated seedlings into the clay.

Their goal is to plant a billion trees a year. And they might be able to do it.

“We’re firing at one a second, which entails a pair of operators will be able to plant nearly 100,000 trees per day 60 squads like this will get us to a billion trees a year, ” BioCarbon Engineering’s CEO Lauren Fletcher told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The system can work 10 periods faster than human hands and is cheaper than hiring laborers, according to Dr. Susan Graham, the company’s CTO. It can also reach places that’d be impossible for people to get to safely. For instance, the company has been testing their dronings over land abandoned by coal mines in Australia.

Now that tests are looking good, the company is currently accepting customer contracts.

We desperately need our woodlands, and this could help balance out human impact on the world.

Forests are a vital part of our planet and provide innumerable value to both individuals and humanity as a whole. They capture carbon and offer food and shelter to both people and animals. To fix deforestation, we should consider not only good old elbow grease and local endeavours, but high tech approaches as well.

And I don’t genuinely see how you could get much more high-tech than this.

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