Flash Forest, a Canadian startup, uses drones to plant trees by firing seedpods into the ground. The startup planned to use its technology to plant hundreds of thousands of trees at the end of this year. And by 2028 a full billion of trees. Flash Forest, like many other similar startups, believes technology can help the world reach impressive goals to restore forests, stem biodiversity loss and fight climate change.
As we all know, deforestation is a massive problem, not easily fixed. But thanks to these drones there is light in the darkness. The drones can work more quickly, effectively and cheaply than humans when it comes to planting new trees and restoring forests that have already been lost. Currently, Flash Forest technology can plant 10 000 to 20 000 seedpods a day. When the tech advances, about 100 000 trees can be planted a day.
To help the tree seeds to survive better and grow faster, the seedpods are packed in a proprietary mix that encourages the seeds to germinate weeks before they otherwise should have. Besides that, the seedpods are designed to store moisture. This way the seedlings can survive despite months of drought. Fast Company writes
“In some areas, such as hilly terrain or in mangrove forests, the drones use a pneumatic firing device that shoots seed pods deeper into the soil.”
Thanks to this solution, seeds can be planted in areas humans have trouble reaching.
Every planting uses four different species of trees, with an aim of eight. Angelique Ahlstrom, Flash Forest co-founder and chief strategy officer says
“We very much prioritize biodiversity, so we try to plant species that are native to the land as opposed to monocultures. We work with local seed banks and also take into account that the different changes that climate change brings with temperature rise, anticipating what the climate will be like in five to eight years when these trees are much older and have grown to a more mature stage, and how that will affect them.”
If we really want to have addressed climate change by the mid century, planting trees and making sure they grow is a good way to go. Time is of the essence and it is crucial that the trees start growing as quickly as possible. This is now achievable on a large scale, thanks to Flash Forest and other like-minded startups. They make the future forests come sooner.