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Drones To Plant One Billion Trees By 2028

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Drones To Plant One Billion Trees By 2028

A Canadian start-up is pledging to use drones to plant one billion trees by 2028.

Flash Forest is using state-of-the art technology to fire seed pods into the ground, on land just north of Toronto that had previously been burned out by a wildfire.

According to reports, the firm plans to plant 40,000 trees in the area this month as it makes headway with its ambitious objective.

On its website, the company says using drones can help increase the speed and efficiency of tree planting.

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It says: "Flash Forest is a reforestation company that can plant at 10 times the normal rate and at 20 percent of the cost of traditional tree planting techniques.

"With drone engineering, we bring new levels of accuracy, precision and speed to the reforestation industry."

Flash Forest says it can plant many more trees than traditional methods and at a fraction of the cost. Credit: Flash Forest
Flash Forest says it can plant many more trees than traditional methods and at a fraction of the cost. Credit: Flash Forest

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that around one billion hectares of trees need to be planted if we are to limit global warming to 1.5C.

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Speaking about the project, Flash Forest co-founder and chief strategy officer Angelique Ahlstrom said things need to be done more quickly, and that's where they come in.

She said: "There are a lot of different attempts to tackle reforestation. "But despite all of them, they're still failing, with a net loss of 7 billion trees every year."

And while it's not suggested that planting trees will solve the issue of deforestation, Ahlstrom says that using drones will help the cause.

Where someone may plant around 1,500 seed pods a day by hand, it's claimed that the drones can plant 10,000 to 20,000, with the aim for them to eventually be able to plant 100,000 a day.

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Also, she says that it will bring down the cost to around 50 cents (40p).

The firm uses species that are native to the area. Credit: Flash Forest
The firm uses species that are native to the area. Credit: Flash Forest

Prior to sending out bots to drop thousands of seeds, Flash Forest dispatches a group of mapping drones to survey the land.

The pods themselves are designed to store moisture, which means they can survive harsh environments for up to a month without water and also require less human interference.

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The drones even have a pneumatic firing device that makes sure the pods are planted deeper into the soil, for maximum efficacy.

Once planted, the company returns to the area to check the progress.

Ahlstrom said: "Depending on the project, we'll go back two months after, and then a year or two after, and then three to five years after.

"If we fall under a threshold plant goal of a certain number of trees, we'll go back and ensure that we are hitting our goal."

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Flash Forest also says that it uses species that are native to the area.

Ahlstrom added: "We very much prioritise biodiversity, so we try to plant species that are native to the land as opposed to monocultures.

"We work with local seed banks and also take into account that the different changes that climate change brings with temperature rise, anticipating what the climate will be like in five to eight years when these trees are much older and have grown to a more mature stage, and how that will affect them."

Featured Image Credit: Flash Forest

Topics: Environment, World News, Interesting

Dominic Smithers
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