New Technology Could Help Plant Over 1 Billion Trees By 2030

Canadian scientists are planning on planting 1 billion trees within the next eight years. Flash Forest is the “reforestation company” that will be responsible for the massive project. Their method involves drones, pods of seeds, and some math. According to their website, the company uses their drone technology to map out areas that would benefit the most from an increase in vegetation and carbon dioxide (which the trees would provide). 

Flash Forest has a Kickstarter page to help with the rising costs of the technology they require. The process of planting trees by distributing seeds via drones is a lot more complex than one might imagine. 

“[Our] company uses a pneumatic machine attached to a drone to plant the pods. Each vessel contains three germinated seeds as well as other species which support the area, a fungus called mycorrhizae which helps plants to develop, fertilizers, and other ‘secret’ ingredients. After planting, a spray drone will cover the area with nutrients such as nitrogen to help the seedlings grow. A mapping drone is later sent out to monitor their progress,” according to Flash Forest’s Kickstarter page

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It would only take one drone operator to plant up to 100,000 seed pods per day, according to their website, and with that type of growth rate Flash Forest could provide some serious healing to our dying planet within the next decade. 

According to Bryce Jones, Andrew Lauder, and Joshua Calafato, the three graduate students who created Flash forest, their drone-planting method is ten times faster and 20% cheaper than traditional tree planting/reforestation techniques, which are typically much more labor intensive and time consuming. 

In addition to their goal of 1 billion trees by 2028, Flash Forest really wants to focus their attention and mission on the areas of the planet that have been devastated by the recent wildfires. Australia specifically is currently dealing with one of the most dangerous environmental disasters it’s ever seen; bushfires have engulfed over 27 million acres of land and killed up to 480 million wild animals in the process, and the fires have yet to be controlled.

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 According to the International Panel of Climate Change, we have “10 years to reverse climate change and prevent catastrophic run-away effects on our species and civilization. The amount of carbon dioxide released by humans has been increasing since the pre-industrial era, hitting 34 billion tons in 2018, and is more than can be naturally absorbed.”

Additionally, the Earth loses approximately 13 billion trees every year and regains less than half from conservationist efforts.  This is why Flash Forest believes so heavily in their mission and method. The reason their technology hasn’t been completely picked up and distributed throughout the world is a lack of funding and mainstream popularity; no one really knows about them. However, with the help of their Kickstarter and mission based website, they hope that will change, they also are only a few months old (the company was founded in August 2019). 

So far, they have planted “469 White Spruce, 344 White Pine, around 327 Blue Spruce, 225 Red Maple, 790 White Birch, 621 Sugar Maple, 131 Douglas Fir, and 199 Balsam Fir,” according to their website.

When they first began, they were able to distribute over 2,000 tree seeds, derived from seven different tree species, throughout Southern Ontario, and amongst the other trial areas, Flash Forest has reported the areas of land where the pods were planted are already sprouting.