In an effort to curb climate change, cutting-edge drones are being used to restore forests.
“Drones are a key part of the restoration toolkit. [They bring the goal of] restoring and reforesting all degraded land within reach,” says Charlotte Mills, chief ecologist at AirSeed Technologies.
Restoring degraded forests by hand is oftentimes difficult or even impossible, as some sites are inaccessible by road. New robotic drones have the ability to drop seeds directly where they’re needed – a route that a human supervisor programs in before setting the drones off. Though the germination success rate of drone-dropped seeds is currently lower than that for manually planted seeds, solutions are coming forth, such as specially designed pods that encase the seeds with vital nutrients, increasing their chances of success. Reforestation projects led by drones have already been successful in Australia and The United States, and other projects are currently being led in Kenya, India, and Canada. Eventually, hundreds of thousands of hectares of land across the world could be restored by drone seeding.