Tree-planting drones could help restore world’s forests

Posted: April 13, 2019 by oldbrew in Carbon cycle, innovation, trees

Image credit: Biocarbon Engineering

This report is talking about coastal mangrove forests in particular. The target is over a billion new trees, but it’s claimed two operators with ten drones could plant 400,000 trees a day.

British engineers have created a seed-planting drone which could help restore the world’s forests, reports the London Evening Standard.

Biocarbon Engineering, a start-up based in Oxford, designed the drones to fire seed missiles across fields, planting hundreds of potential trees in a matter of minutes.

In September 2018, the drones were deployed in a field just south of Yangon, Myanmar.

The seeds they sowed have since grown into tiny mangrove saplings, about 20-inches tall.

Irnia Federenko, co-founder of Biocarbon Engineering, told Fast Company: “We now have a case confirmed of what species we can plant and in what conditions.

“We are now ready to scale up our planting and replicate this success.”

Around half of the world’s mangrove forests have been lost. The trees, which grow along coastlines, can store more carbon than trees on land.

Mangrove deforestation is responsible for 24 million tons of CO2 emissions each year, according to a 2018 study.

Biocarbon Engineering is collaborating on the project with Myanmar non-profit the Worldview International Foundation, which has been planting trees by hand across the country since 2012.

The Foundation works with local villagers, who have helped plant more than six million trees in the past seven years. But human-only methods are time-consuming, and the non-profit has turned to the Oxford engineers for help.

“Obviously, planting a billion trees will take a long time without the help of drones,” Bremley Lyngdoh, a partner on the project, told Fast Company.

Roughly 350,000 hectares of coastal forest need to be restored, which translates to more than a billion trees.

Ten drones, operated by two operators, can plant 400,000 trees a day.

Full report here.

  1. Saighdear says:

    Eh? Plant or SOW. we PLANT the likes of tubers,bulbs rhizomes and germinated seedlings or older plants. we SOW the seeds of whever plant is propagated by Seed.
    No, I SOW cereals a 350 seeds per square METRE, at a rate of 10 acres per hour approx ( higher spot rate) so you can calculate how many I SOW in a day WITHOUT a drone. On the Hills with poor access, we sow Grass seed and fertiliser with a Helicopter. ….. do I really need to be a Kool daft dude to use a Drone?
    Just more fake news …… we do it because we can? Hullsballs – We can even sow the seeds from our surfboard. If that’s not rediculous ….

  2. ivan says:

    If they want that many new trees they are going to need much more CO2 in the atmosphere. Just how stupid can the members of the UN Church of Climatology get?

  3. Bloke down the pub says:

    I remember my geography teacher telling us that the Laird of the manor who owned the steep hillsides next to Loch Ness, sowed trees from a boat by firing them out of an old blunderbuss . There again, Mr Maiden was a bit of a bulls hitter, so who knows if it was true.

  4. Gamecock says:

    Will they survive?

    ‘Around half of the world’s mangrove forests have been lost.’


    The trees that were there before are gone. What caused them to die out? Will it not kill the new ones? If conditions were suitable for mangroves, they’d still be there. N’est-ce pas?

  5. oldbrew says:

    Shocking images’ reveal death of 10,000 hectares of mangroves across Northern Australia
    Updated 11 Jul 2016

    “The images were compelling. They were really dramatic, showing severe dieback of mangrove shoreline fringing — areas just extending off into infinity,” Dr Duke said.

    “Certainly nothing in my experience had prepared me to see images like that.
    . . .
    He said he was convinced unusually low rainfall in the 2014 wet season and elevated temperatures led to the massive mangrove dieback.

    He said a deadly lack of fresh water and increased water and atmospheric temperatures stressed the plants beyond their tolerance.

    Satellite imagery pinpoints the damage to a period of around four weeks in September-October 2015.”

  6. ivan says:

    Interesting that Dr Duke, the guy that is panicking about the mangroves if from the same university, James Cook, as those that are panicking about the reef and the corals.

  7. Karen says:

    Reblogged this on Deforestation.