BioCarbon Engineering has developed a high-tech system which uses drones to plant trees in deforested areas.
BioCarbon’s drones replant areas in two stages. First, the drone flies over the selected area and creates a three-dimensional map which it then uses as a reference when it returns with seeds.
The drone fires an “agribullet” which contains seeds in a bio-degradable pod. The seeds in the pod can be adjusted to the region using the drones three-dimensional map, and can include multiple species to ensure biodiversity.
The drones utilise GPS so replanting projects are comprehensive. BioCarbon claims that a tree can be planted in under a second and that one drone could plant over 100,000 trees in a single day.
Using drones allows re-forestry projects to plant trees in areas which would otherwise be inaccessible or unfeasible; estimates by the system engineers show the drones are 10 times faster than traditional planting measures and cost on average 85% less.
According to their blog post on the World Economic Forum (WEF) website, 15bn trees are cut down and 9bn are planted each year, meaning a net loss of 6bn trees per year. The company says the drones are the only means in which restoration projects can match the current rate of deforestation.
Based in the UK, BioCarbon plan to have 150 fleets, each comprised of 6 drones. According to the company, with a fleet that size, they would be capable of planting tens of billions of trees each year.The company is currently working in partnership with the government of Myanmar to restore 100,000 hectares of the country’s mangrove forests. CEO Dr Lauren Fletcher has said he wants the drones to plant half a trillion trees over the next three decades.
The company will accept customer contracts for 2018 and 2019. Last year, Domino’s announced plans to use drones for its pizza delivery service.