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Seed-firing drones fighting deforestation

Words by Smiley Team

Planting trees to tackle deforestation is often a very labour intensive job, requiring thousands of volunteers every year.

But thanks to a start-up company, an army of drones may be our solution to the deforestation crisis.

AirSeed Technologies has designed seed-firing drones, by combining artificial intelligence with specially designed seed pods which can be fired into the ground from high in the sky.

Whilst it might be a strange sight to witness for those on the ground, the company are confident that the drones are a game changer.

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"Each of our drones can plant over 40,000 seed pods per day and they fly autonomously. In comparison to traditional methodologies, that's 25 times faster, but also 80 per cent cheaper," says Andrew Walker, CEO and co-founder of AirSeed Technologies.

"The niche really lies in our biotech, which is the support system for the seed once it's on the ground. 

“It protects the seed from different types of wildlife, but also supports the seed once it germinates and really helps deliver all of those nutrients and mineral sources that it needs, along with some probiotics to really boost early-stage growth."

Furthering the goals of the United Nations

Deforestation is a huge climate issue, with the earth losing around 70,000 square kilometres of forest every year.

The United Nations has called for this figure to be halved by 2025 and for an end to net deforestation globally by 2030.

The drones are so efficient that they will be able to single handedly plant 100 million new trees by the year 2024. Once launched and up in the air, the drones navigate fixed flight paths, planting in predefined patterns.

They also record each seed's coordinates, meaning that AirSeed can monitor the health of their trees as they grow.

"We're being very mindful of the fact that we need to restore soil health, we need to restore microbial communities within the soil, and we need to restore primary habitat providers for animals,” says Andrew.

The drones have already been used by AirSeed to plant more than 50,000 trees so far and the company is confident they will be revolutionary in tackling deforestation and improving biodiversity.

Feeling inspired?

You might not be as powerful as an army of seed-firing drones, but you can still make a difference.

There are plenty of ways in which you can improve the biodiversity of your local area with planting. Or, if you don’t have the time, plenty of charities that will plant trees and improve the wildlife for you.

PLANT TREES: Visit Woodland Trust for guidance on how you can successfully plant your own trees where you live.

DONATE: To donate towards the efforts of tree planting, visit The National Trust or The Northern Forest for UK-based planting.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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