With the effects of climate change becoming more apparent and more dangerous every day, a Canadian company has stepped up with plans to use drones to plant more than one billion trees by 2028. The Flash Forest reforestation company say they’ve developed drone technology that maps out the best areas for planting trees which drink up the most CO2, with an average density of 2,000 per hectare.
CEO and co-founder of the Toronto-based company, Bryce Jones, stopped by Your Morning to tell us more about this exciting new initiative. Watch his interview in the video clip above.
HOW IT WORKS
The company estimates a single drone could plant up to 20,000 trees a day, ten times the speed of a human tree planter. One drone operator has the potential to plant 100,000 seed pods per day!
The company uses a pneumatic machine attached to a drone to plant the pods – each vessel contains three germinated seeds as well as other species which support the area, a fungus called mycorrhizae which helps plants to develop, fertilizers, and other “secret” ingredients. After planting, a spray drone will cover the area with nutrients to help the seedlings grow. A mapping drone is later sent out to monitor their progress.
Seed Pods are much less energy/water intensive to produce, and have a lower environmental impact. Pods can be created in mass within a month, whereas seedlings take 1 to 2 years of intensive care in a nursery before they can be planted. This allows the company to plant rapidly and at 20% the cost of a seedling.
Flash Forest hopes this project will enable them to efficiently target areas which have been harvested and ravaged by wild fires. The amount of CO2 released by humans has been increasing since the pre-industrial era, hitting 34 billion tons in 2018, an amount scientists say is more than can be naturally absorbed. The planet loses 13 billion trees per year but regains less than half, making planting trees the “fastest and cheapest” way to sequester carbon, as a tree soaks up over 40 pounds of CO2 per year on average.
The initiative has already exceeded its initial fundraising goal of $10,000 CAD by nearly $60,000, and is now aiming for a stretch goal of $100,000 by January 19. The fundraising goal is smaller than is actually needed, but it will be used to help purchase a machine to automate the production of pods so they can plant 150 000+ trees next year.
The company says their project could greatly help the Federal Government fulfill its pledge to plant 2 billion trees in the next ten years! The company wants to bring their technology to six continents and in every biome that’s in need of reforestation or afforestation. From the rapidly disappearing tropics of Borneo to the burning Canadian boreal forests, Flash Forest wants to make an impact wherever needed.
To learn more and back their project, check out their Kickstarter page here.