Deforestation is at its peak now. Climate change, natural disasters like floods, landslides, and biodiversity loss have become global issues that can’t be ignored. However, to get it checked before it can cause severe harm to biodiversity in the near future, a group of Canadian Science and Engineering graduates has started up a reforestation company called “Flash Forest”.
Flash Forest plans to plant 1 billion trees using drones by the year 2028. The drones employed are modified, capable of planting trees 10 times faster than a normal human worker. First of all, Flash Forest creates nutrient-packed pods with at least three pre-germinated seeds, fertilizers, mycorrhizae, and Flash Forest’s very own ‘secret sauce’.
“Every year our planet loses 13 billion trees and regains less than half of that. We started Flash Forest with one clear goal: healing our planet’s lungs. Until that job is done well, no other job matters.”
To avoid the monoculture and ensure building a healthy ecosystem, Flash Forest aims to prepare seed pods of at least eight different species.
How do these drones work?
Flash Forest modifies drones at first accordingly to the team’s necessity. And the drones are put into work in four different steps.
Step 1: Multispectral Mapping
Flash Forest uses a modified drone and flies it over terrain to gather data and to determine the best sites to plant/throw seeds where it would grow without any worries and maintain its health over time. This process is named as “Multispectral Mapping”, and the drone used in this process is called “Multispectral Mapping Drone”.
Step 2: Spraying
After Multispectral Mapping is done and all the necessary data is collected, its time for Spraying. In this step, Flash Forest uses a “Spraying Drone” to spray seedling nutrients and support the seeds to grow properly on selected sites for planting. This step is very important and plays a very vital role in making seeds health proper over the first crucial years.
Step 3: Firing Seed Pods
After spraying drones finish their job, its time for the final step, which is planting the seed pods. “Tree Planting Drones” are used in this step. Flash Forest mounts these drones right above the planting spot where Spraying Drone had sprayed nutrients. Tree Planting drones are integrated with pneumatic firing devices that use Flash Forest made software to fire pods into these selected spots. After seed pods are fired, the job is finished.
Step 4: Survey
After these steps, all that left is to ensure the growth of the plants and check their status with their health. This process is also done with the help of a drone. This survey is done regularly in a period of a certain time that Flash Forest has set.
What are Flash Forest’s future plans?
With Flash Forest’s current drone technology, they are able to plant trees at just 50 cents per sapling. These drones can plant trees at 10 times faster (20,000 trees per drone per day) than a human planter and save 80% of expenses. Flash Forest recently carried three pilot tests in Southern Ontario, Canada and successfully planted 3100 seed pods of 8 different species; White Spruce, White Pine, Blue Spruce, Red Maple, White Birch, Sugar Maple, Douglas Fir, and Balsam Fir.
The company is planning to plant seed pods across Canada, Atlantic Forest in Brazil and to start the project at places located in various countries globally. They have set a target to start planting trees by April 2020 and plant 150,000 trees by the end of 2020.
Flash Forest, since the launch of its Kickstarter campaign on Dec 5, 2019, has now successfully raised over 600+% of its initial CA$ 10,000 (US$ 7,696) goal. However, they still need to hit US$ 100K mark by Jan 19, 2020 to be able to purchase primary automation outright and create “million of seed pods”.
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