DroneSeed Company Could Replant Burned Forests

Droney Bear says only UAVs can regrow after forest fires

DroneSeed Drone

DroneSeed Drone

Cover the forest in flying robots to spark new growth.Screenshot by author, from Vimeo

Automating forestry is an uphill battle. Trees grow well on slopes and steep inclines, which are difficult for farming equipment, adapted as it is to sweeping, gentle plains. This is especially hard for the replanting part of responsible forestry, where seedlings need deliberate, tender care so they can begin to replace their fallen predecessors. This is, right now, a human intensive process, but startup DroneSeed wants to turn over the entire process to, you guessed it, drones.

Besides the private forestry industry, another, more immediate need might take advantage of the DroneSeed technology: reseeding after forest fires. Motherboard reports:

Forestry industry chatter suggests aerial seeding isn’t ready, not amidst the stumps and slash leftover from a timber harvest. But burn zones might be another story. Ullyott thinks that his company can speed up the remediation of charred forests. “I’m personally really excited about that,” he said. Quick replanting is crucial for habitats and budgets, but the slower process of using seedlings has a proven success rate. DroneSeed will need to prove itself by proving the viability of their seeds.

DroneSeed has drones that can launch seeds, spray herbicide on invasive species, and monitor plant growth. The easy part is flying over the cut. The tricky part is making sure that the drone-planted seeds take.

Still, given the challenges in replanting by hand, drones are at worst a novel attempt at a solution. And if the seeds sprout and thrive, and the FAA approves DroneSeed’s operation, then a new way of forestry could take root.

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