Action exactly halfway between forestry and technology: Flash Forest, a Canadian startup, is using aerial drones to plant trees 10 times faster than a person would.
The goal is to plant 1 billion trees by 2028.
A flurry of trees
Flash Forest modifies drones to "shoot" fast-growing tree seeds into the ground. A combination of technology, software and ecological science to overcome traditional tree planting efforts at a time when it is needed (but that's not enough) accelerated global reforestation.
Besides, it's a technology that does its job at a cost less than 80% compared to traditional tree planting methods.
How does Flash Forest work?
Heavy-duty drones are equipped with a pneumatic firing system that allows them to place the tree pods at the optimum depth in the ground.
This allows Flash Forest drones to enter (and plant) more difficult areas that human planters would not be able to enter.
How does the plantation take place?
Each capsule-tree is handcrafted and contains at least three pregerminated seeds, mycorrhizae, fertilizers and some nutritional ingredients.
Flash Forest: first phase
The process of planting the trees begins with the launch of drones which only have the task of mapping the area.
Once the ideal places to plant have been identified by software, based on the existing soil and plants, a second swarm of drones begins to drop seed pods with high precision.
The pneumatic firing device is useful in steep terrain or mangrove forests, allowing drones to push seed pods deeper into the ground.
After planting, the team follows the process and deploys a 'sprayer' drone to deliver nutrients to the seedlings, and another to keep an eye on the growth process of the plants.
After the successful completion of the first tests, the startup has already planted trees throughout the Canadian Ontario area. The company wants to reduce costs by up to 50 cents per capsule-shaft.
Flash Forest, trees as if it were raining
Flash Forest's technology can plant 10.000 to 20.000 seed pods every day. One day, a pair of drones will be able to plant 100.000 trees every day.