It just so happens that trees are pretty important to life on Earth. On average, a single mature tree absorbs 48lbs. of carbon dioxide a year, and releases enough oxygen into the atmosphere to support two human beings. Unfortunately, we chop down 15 billion trees a year while only planting about 9 billion new ones. With a net loss of 6 billion trees a year, we’re hurting the environment and literally starving ourselves of the oxygen we need. Thankfully, a UK-based company has come up with a uniquely 21st-century solution.
Hand planting trees is a slow and expensive process and doesn’t keep pace with the mechanically aided wide-scale harvesting of forests. Thankfully, BioCarbon Engineering has teamed up with drone manufacturer Parrot to create a drone that can plant trees quickly and cheaply. Their drones are loaded with germinated seed pods which are fired into the ground at a rate of one per second, which allows a single drone to plant up to 100,000 trees a day. If scaled properly, 60 drones could be used to plant about 1 billion trees a year.
In addition to being cheaper and quicker than a human, these drones are also smarter in how they plant their trees. The drones first create a topographical 3D map of the area they’re targeting and then analyzes the data to determine the most efficient planting pattern. The flight capabilities of the drone also allow it to reach areas that would otherwise be inaccessible to most human tree-planters, meaning it can reforest any area.
The creators of the drone estimate that their solution is about 10 times faster than a human, and can accomplish the same task at only 20% of the cost. With the world losing the equivalent of 48 football fields worth of forest every minute, this may just be the 21st-century solution we need to increase conservation. If we dedicated the same economic resources we currently use on reforestation to these drones instead, we could plant upward of 45 billion trees a year.
Images: BioCarbon Engineering