As we see a rise in temperatures and face global warming, reforestation plays a critical part in the climate crisis combat mission. However, to plant a thousand trees a day is not that easy. With new modern technology, however, scientists and start-ups can get more creative when planting trees.
An Ontario, Canada-based start-up, Flash Forest, have created their own custom tree seed pods, and they will be planted and cared for by their fleet of drones. With their unique and faster design, the company is determined to plant one billion trees by 2030. This automation of reforestation is part of their grassroots efforts to efficiently revitalise environments around the world.
Flash Forest was founded in the spring of 2019, and the team didn't waste any time. They quickly delved into research and development, testing prototype drones to hone their technique. Flash Forest launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to grow the scale of their efforts as they continue to refine their drones and software.
They achieved excellent results from their now-expansive operation, which totals over 20 employees. The team managed to plant 300,000 seed pods across Canada in only two months.
The process starts with a drone that is first sent out to scan the landscape and identify the best place where the seeds can be planted. Next, the tree-planting drones head out, equipped with pneumatic firing devices. They shoot specially crafted seedpods into the soil, planting them at an optimal depth.
The pods were designed with a unique combination of a sprouted seed and nutritious extras to feed the young plant. After the seed has been planted by the drone, the spraying drones come around, bringing extra nourishment to the area.
However, this clever technology does not just end there. After the plants are planted, the drones continue to monitor and encourage the growth of these new forests.
According to Flash Forest's website: "Planting trees is currently the fastest and cheapest way to sequester carbon." Not only is drone automation much faster in the process of planting trees, but they are also much cheaper in the long run than people can by hand. Flash Forest creates pods in a variety of trees, local to a given area to encourage biodiversity. At the current stage, a drone can plant over 10,000 trees in a day, which is much more than one person can do by hand.
In the future, the team hopes to continue to raise the speed and efficiency of the automated drones and planting process and expand their reforestation efforts outside of Canada.