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Drones Can Save an Entire Forest from the Sky

drones can save an entire forest from the sky


Partnering with Worldview International Foundation, BioCarbon Engineering is set to speed up the process of planting trees with the hopes of reforesting huge portions of land. Based in Oxford, England, BioCarbon Engineering was founded in 2015 and has successfully tested drones in both England and Australia. Working to restore a damaged ecosystem takes a large amount of manpower, money and time. Planting 2.7 million trees in just five years makes Worldview International Foundation a leader in reforestation technology. BioCarbon Engineering believes that it can speed the process using drones that shoot a biodegradable seed pod into the ground.

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The process of reforesting begins with topographical mapping of the ground to be planted. With investment from the Parrot drone company, the drones travel over the planting area and analyze the surface composition and topology. Soil type and moisture content are also obtained along with any physical obstructions that might block the seeds from reaching the ground. Once this information is gathered and analyzed, the BioCarbon Engineering company determines the type of tree that has the highest ability for survival. In most cases a mix of tree species is chosen to include varieties that do well in the soil and climate that is chosen for the reforestation project.

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Utilizing the data, the drones are equipped with a pressurized can that is set to shoot the seeds into the ground. Each seed pod is biodegradable and the drones are programmed to release a pod every six seconds. Flying low over the land, the drones plant thousands of seeds in a short period of time without the human effort normally required. With the information gathered through the topographical mapping process, the drones can avoid areas where rocky soil or gathered water might obstruct the growth of the trees. Working to change the destruction of an ecosystem into a reforestation project, the cofounder of BioCarbon Engineering, Lauren Fletcher, combines his efforts with biology and engineering. Formerly working with NASA, Fletcher was a part of the life-sciences department program for the International Space Station.

With data that is analyzed frequently, the BioCarbon Engineering drones can also monitor planted areas and determine which seeds are growing at the optimum rate and decide if irrigation or a change in seed variety is required. This influx of information makes planting dry or damaged areas more financially viable for farmers and Worldview International Foundation members who are working to restore damaged forest lands. Gathering data several times following the initial planting allows the reforestation project to evolve quickly and with little loss of plant life.

The BioCarbon Engineering drones are designed to plant as many as 100,000 new trees in a single day of use. Working with the nonprofit, Worldview International Foundation, drones are finding their way into the protection of ecosystems for both humans and animals. Useful for the planting of mangrove trees in coastal areas, the drones are able to access areas of land that are difficult for humans to navigate.

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