Humans mow down forests far faster than they can replant them, and it has drastic effects on our planet — both present and future. Planting trees by hand is the slowest way to go about replacing the trees, but it is often the method used. One startup company named BioCarbon Engineering wants to change that by using drones to plant seedlings. The company was founded by a former NASA engineer, Lauren Fletcher, and could have the added benefit of planting trees in places that are difficult for humans to access.
The startup is based in the United Kingdom, and aims to use fixed wing drones to first map a parcel of land, the data from which will be used alongside a machine learning algorithm to create a so-called planting platform. With that platform, a multiple-rotor drone can be used to shoot seed pods at specific — and ideal — planting locations.
There are several benefits to this — for one thing, far less humans are needed, and the drones can more easily access areas that are difficult for humans to access. The system can also pick locations that help ensure the saplings will thrive and grow into full sized trees rather than withering.
The idea’s not to replace humans, however — rather, the drones will complement their efforts, and could speed up the rate at which forestry efforts take place. The startup is already getting to work; soon it will be planting trees in South Africa using its system, for example.
If the company achieves its goals, one day it will be planting a billion trees a year.