Deforestation affects billions of trees worldwide annually. That being said, replanting trees manually is gradual, costly and barely puts a dent in damage reversal.
A small startup wants to change that.
This UK-based company, called BioCarbon was founded by NASA engineer Lauren Fletcher. It aims to use emerging technologies to deliver precision planting and mapping to increase the uptake rates and the likelihood of healthy forest development.
"Destruction of global forests from lumber, mining, agriculture and urban expansion destroys 26 billion trees each year. We believe that this industrial scale deforestation is best combated using the latest automation technologies," says the company's mission. "We are going to counter industrial scale deforestation using industrial scale reforestation."
The company uses fixed wing drones to map a parcel of land. The data collected is used alongside a machine learning algorithm to create a planting platform. A multiple-rotor drone is launched to shoot seed pots at specific and ideal locations through the planting platform. Susan Graham, head of engineering at BioCarbon, refers to this process as "precision forestry."
"Instead of having a spade, they'll have a drone," she says.
There are various benefits to this process. For starters, far less man power is needed, as the drones can readily go to places that are difficult and dangerous for humans to access. The planting platorm can also recognize locations that are optimum for the saplings to develop into full-sized trees, as opposed to just withering through time.
The drones, however, will not be replacing humans, but will merely complement the human task force.
"Drones are a tool and you use them when it's the right location and for the right reason," shares Fletcher. "It doesn't mean replacement."
The BioCarbon team recently presented its plan to the UN Headquarters in New York. This is for the Solutions Summit, where the company was invited as one of 14 winning startups that are seeking to address the UN's list of Sustainable Development Goals.
BioCarbon is currently eyeing expansion and has made a commitment to plant trees in a South African plantation.
Graham claims that trying out their service in different conditions or environments is the key. Through this, they can learn more about how to work with various soils and species.
BioCarbon's goal is to plant a billion trees every year.
Watch this video to know more about BioCarbon engineering, and let us know what you think in the comments.