As upwards of 26 billion trees are cut down every year and only 15 billion are replanted, we’re facing a deficit. As seed bombing has taken on a new meaning, airplanes are retrofitted to drop seeds instead of bombs; the potential for replantation is vast. One engineer claims to be able to replant 36,000 trees a day with the use of drones and will replant one billion trees per year at 15% the cost of hand plantation.
Lauren Fletcher, the former engineer at NASA and CEO of BioCarbon Engineering, has developed drones that will carry pre-germinated seeds, dropping them in pods from 3 meters above the ground
The seeds are coated with a nutritious hydrogel, which Fetcher believes will make for much more effective seeding than traditional airborne attempts. Though it is not as effective as hand planting on a seed by seed basis, it has the capability to plant thousands of times more seeds and only needs one worker to pilot multiple drones.
A prototype wowed crowds at the Drones for Good competition in the United Arab Emirates and the company hopes to have fully functioning models by the end of the summer of 2015.