One of the main causes of global warming and the ongoing deforestation is the reduction of forests around the world. The “easy” solution is simply making sure that we plant more trees every year; however, planting a large amount of seed in a significant quantity is not that easy. Until now.
An ex-NASA engineer might have found the solution to planting trees at a greater scale. Lauren Fletcher has proposed the use of unnamed aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones to level up the task. Fletcher believes that with the help of drones it will be “really easy” to plant one billion trees a year and this way fight deforestation efficiently. With two operators manning multiple drones, he thinks it should be possible to plant up to 36,000 trees a day, and at around 15% of the cost of traditional methods.
26 billion trees are currently being burned down every year while only 15 million are replanted. Tree planting initiatives often rely on either hand planting, which is slow and expensive, or air dropping seeds, which has a low rate of success. Fletcher hopes that planting with drones will combine the precision of hand planting with the speed and cost-effectiveness of air dropping. If successful, the initiative could help address this shortfall in a big way. “We are going to counter industrial scale deforestation using industrial scale reforestation,” says Lauren Fletcher, the founder of BioCarbon Engineering.
“The only way we’re going to take on these age-old problems is with techniques that weren’t available to us before,” Fletcher said. “By using this approach we can meet the scale of the problem out there.”
A prototype for the system impressed at the Drones for Good competition in the United Arab Emirates, and the company hopes to have fully working versions by the end of the summer.