This Startup Company Seeks to Reverse Deforestation by Using Drones to Plant 1 Billion Trees a Year

By: | May 31st, 2015

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As per the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forest are lost each year. About 26 billion trees are cut in a year, and only about 15 billion are replanted. Deforestation on such a big scale can lead to a lot of problems with huge implications for the climate.

However, a U.K.-based startup company, BioCarbon Engineering, is hoping to reverse deforestation by using drones to plant trees. The company is run by a former NASA engineer, Lauren Fletcher. He is on a mission to fight this industrial-scale deforestation.

The Plan to Fight Deforestation:

The Company has a plan to plant up to one billion trees per year using drones. For that, drones will conduct aerial surveys and will produce detailed 3-D maps of the areas to be reforested.

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

Once the best areas are determined for plantation, specially designed planting drones will fly in and fire pods containing pre-germinated seeds at the ground.

Once the sapling grows, the biodegradable pods dropped by the drones will break down, and tree-roots will take hold in the soil.

The method is definitely cheaper than planting by hand. As per the company’s estimates, UAV-seeding could be about 15% of the cost of traditional methods. Moreover, in remote but fertile places not easily accessible by humans, drones may be good enough for the job.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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