It’s well known that the Earth is tragically losing its rainforests at a far quicker pace than humans can replant. Most analysts attribute upwards of 15 percent of global carbon emissions to deforestation – according to a report published in Scientific American.

But now, Dr. Susan Graham, an Australian engineer, is utilising technological advancements to fight the battle against deforestation. She has helped develop a pair of drones that aim to mitigate some of the damage done by planting trees at a rate that humans alone could not achieve.

Illustration by BioCarbon Engineering


PLANTING TREES. HOW IT WORKS

The first drone scans the specified area of land targeted by satellite imagery, and searches for an ideal plot to plant. The drone makes a 3D rendering map of the area and then employs special algorithms to find the ideal places and pattern to plant the seeds, taking into account ground topography, existing biodiversity and obstructions.

The second drone then takes that map and carries up to 300 biodegradable seed pods specifically designed to enhance germination success, and begins work shooting the seeds into the ground. It can cover 1 hectare in 10 minutes.

The drones are then used to monitor the planting success and restored ecosystem.

Lauren Fletcher, the CEO of BioCarbon Engineering, said: “We’re firing at one a second, which means a pair of operators will be able to plant nearly 100,000 trees per day60 teams like this will get us to a billion trees a year.”

Photo by BioCarbon Engineering


DRONES. A GREEN REVOLUTION?

Using drones in this manner means the method is highly scaleable, and allows for centralised data like success rate, growth rate, biodiversity and topography to all be recorded and used to improve the mechanism as time goes on.

Usually drones are only thought of for their delivery capabilities through services like Amazon, or their ability to record video. But there are currenly lifesaving drones that can beat EMTs to emergency situations, and drones that could support the declining bee population, and even drones who can stand in for backup dancers.

This is only the beginning for these nifty technological creatures.