Re-planting forests with drones? Yes, please!

According to the United Nations, deforestation makes up 17 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions — more than the world’s transportation sector. Approximately 15 billion trees are cut every year. Most of the forest areas are cleared for farmlands, necessary to feed the world’s increasing population.

BioCarbon Engineering, a UK based startup comes up with a solution to deforestation. It proposes the use of a small fleet of drones, to replant and restore forests. The company’s CEO, Lauren Fletcher, says the only way to fight industrial-scale deforestation is with industrial-scale reforestation.

BioCarbon’s reforestation plan is quite simple, at least theoretically. First, drones fly over the area to be reforested and create a 3D map of the whole region. Afterwards, a seeding pattern is generated, that best suits the specifics of that terrain.

For the next step, the drones fly over the mapped area and fire biodegradable seed pods, with germinated seeds. Finally, once planting is achieved, the drones will execute regular flights to supervise the health of the culture.

Using drones, planting trees is much more efficient than doing the same by hand. While in the latter case a farmer might plant 3000 seeds per day, with drones, over 36,000 seeds per day could be planted. Moreover, the company is aiming to increase that number up to 100,000 seeds per day.

As the firm’s CEO declares:

There are some times when planting by hand is absolutely the right approach. But, in other instances, the drones can be a very effective tool for the right location at the right time.

While for a lot of people re-planting trees seems to be a feel-good activity, land restoration is vital since it adds vital nutrients into the soil. Moreover, many cities rely on forests for water supply, since they act like giant sponges. Trees also protect the coastline from storms. Finally, vegetation fights climate change since trees will essentially dig carbon out of the atmosphere.


Thanks to BioCarbon Engineering, efficient reforestation could become reality worldwide, as one of the firm’s representatives declared:

By planting at the scale we’re looking at […] we can make a real long-term impact. We hope to do a lot of good in the world.


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