Tags: billion | trees | drone | plant

Billion Trees: Drones Can Plant That Many From Air Each Year

By    |   Tuesday, 28 April 2015 06:54 AM

A former NASA engineer is developing a plan to plant a billion trees a year using drones.

"The only way we're going to take on these age-old problems is with techniques that weren't available to us before," said Lauren Fletcher, CEO of BioCarbon Engineering, told The Independent (UK). "By using this approach we can meet the scale of the problem out there."

Fletcher said that roughly 26 billion trees are cut down each year, however only 15 billion are replanted. His company and companies like it could make up the shortfall, making sure that the Earth is lush with oxygen-producing saplings.

Traditional hand planting, currently the most effective method of planting trees, is also among the most costly and labor intensive, but drones could prove nearly as effective through a few small feats of engineering.

BioCarbon Engineering plans to use drones to closely survey potential areas for reforestation, at which time a computer algorithm can determine the best spots for planting.

Once a plant is set, the drone would fly out to the field and use a pressurized canister to fire pre-germinated seed pods into the ground.

By all estimates, this method could enable Fletcher's relatively small team to plant 36,000 trees a day. And, importantly, by using drones instead of humans to do the planting, BioCarbon would likely slash the price of hand planting by 85 percent.

A prototype of the reforestation drone recently debuted at the Drones for Good competition in the United Arab Emirates, and fully-realized versions are expected this summer.

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A former NASA engineer is developing a plan to plant a billion trees a year using drones.
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Tuesday, 28 April 2015 06:54 AM
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