Environment

Flash Forest aims to use drones to plant a billion trees by 2028

Flash Forest aims to use drone...
A team of Canadian science and engineering graduates is pitching a dream to plant a billion trees by 2028 using drones
A team of Canadian science and engineering graduates is pitching a dream to plant a billion trees by 2028 using drones
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Flash Forest combines the use of drones with specially-designed pods and an accelerated seed germination process
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Flash Forest combines the use of drones with specially-designed pods and an accelerated seed germination process
Each custom-made tree pod contains a minimum of three pre-germinated seeds, mycorrhizae, fertilizers, and additional plant-loving ingredients
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Each custom-made tree pod contains a minimum of three pre-germinated seeds, mycorrhizae, fertilizers, and additional plant-loving ingredients
Flash Forest incorporates the use of a heavy-lift drone that is equipped with a pneumatic firing device
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Flash Forest incorporates the use of a heavy-lift drone that is equipped with a pneumatic firing device
Flash Forest says its drones have the capacity to plant pods 10 times faster than the rate seedlings can be planted using traditional methods
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Flash Forest says its drones have the capacity to plant pods 10 times faster than the rate seedlings can be planted using traditional methods
Flash Forest planting target over the next two years
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Flash Forest planting target over the next two years
How the Flash Frest system works
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How the Flash Frest system works
Flash Forest pods can be created in mass quantities within just 30 days
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Flash Forest pods can be created in mass quantities within just 30 days
Flash Forest is currently hoping to raise CAD 50,000 via the Kickstarter platform
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Flash Forest is currently hoping to raise CAD 50,000 via the Kickstarter platform
A team of Canadian science and engineering graduates is pitching a dream to plant a billion trees by 2028 using drones
9/10
A team of Canadian science and engineering graduates is pitching a dream to plant a billion trees by 2028 using drones
Flash Forest says its technology can plant trees 10 times faster than a single worker and at a cost that is 80 percent cheaper than traditional tree-planting methods
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Flash Forest says its technology can plant trees 10 times faster than a single worker and at a cost that is 80 percent cheaper than traditional tree-planting methods
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We looked at the concept of forest regeneration using drones back in 2016 with the Droneseed initiative, now a team of Canadian science and engineering graduates is pitching a dream to plant a billion trees by 2028 using drones. The project is dubbed Flash Forest and combines the use of drones with specially-designed pods and an accelerated seed germination process. According to Flash Forest, its technology can plant trees 10 times faster than a single worker and at a cost that is 80 percent cheaper than traditional tree planting methods.

“We are a Canadian drone reforestation company that modifies drones to fire rapidly-germinating tree seeds into the soil,” says Flash Forest. “We merge technology, software and ecological science to surpass traditional tree-planting efforts and rapidly accelerate global reforestation efforts. With our ambitious goal of planting 1 billion trees by 2028.”

Flash Forest combines the use of drones with specially-designed pods and an accelerated seed germination process
Flash Forest combines the use of drones with specially-designed pods and an accelerated seed germination process

Flash Forest incorporates the use of a heavy-lift drone that is equipped with a pneumatic firing device, allowing it to insert the planting pods into the soil at an ideal depth. Each custom-made tree pod contains a minimum of three pre-germinated seeds, mycorrhizae, fertilizers, and additional plant-loving ingredients (which the team is keeping secret).

The seeds are already sprouted before they’re inserted into the ground, promising a more successful growth pattern and robust rooting system. Following the planting, the team will follow-up the process with a spraying drone to provide nitrogen and other nutrients to the seedlings. Furthermore, an additional mapping drone is used to keep an eye on the process of the plants' growth. The team hopes to plant eight different species to generate healthy ecosystems, while also planting enough trees to offset North American carbon emissions.

How the Flash Frest system works
How the Flash Frest system works

“We started Flash Forest with the goal of offsetting carbon emissions enough to have a significant and measurable impact on climate change within the next decade,” says Flash Forest. “We work closely with botanists and forestry experts, and use multi-spectral mapping UAV technology to select ideal planting sites and provide valuable follow up data on ecosystem health.”

The Flash Forest pods use less water than traditional planting methods and can be created in mass quantities within just 30 days. This allows the team to plant trees much faster and at a huge economical savings, compared to the use of seedlings that often require 12 to 24 months in a nursery before they can be planted successfully.

“This year we planted eight deciduous and coniferous species local to Southern Ontario,” says Flash Forest. “We can easily fill our pods with seeds of virtually any tree species (except for acorns and a few of the larger exceptions). If interested, we can also plant any flora that’s appropriate for an ecosystem in its successional period.”

Flash Forest says its technology can plant trees 10 times faster than a single worker and at a cost that is 80 percent cheaper than traditional tree-planting methods
Flash Forest says its technology can plant trees 10 times faster than a single worker and at a cost that is 80 percent cheaper than traditional tree-planting methods

Flash Forest is currently hoping to raise CAD 50,000 (about US$37,979) via the Kickstarter platform. The team requires additional funding to purchase equipment to boost its production capabilities so that they can create “millions of seed pods.”

“The Flash Forest Reforestation is an extremely nuanced field and in order for us to bring this technology across international borders we need funding.. and we need it quick,” says Flash Forest. "We have an immediate need to purchase equipment that will allow us to produce millions of seed pods. By sponsoring our company, you help us take our technology to the Pacific Forests of Canada, the Amazon Rainforests of Brazil and, ultimately, the globe.”

Those interested in providing financial assistance to the Flash Forest project can pledge their support via its Kickstarter campaign, which will close towards the end of January 2020.

Source: Flash Forest

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6 comments
Douglas Rogers
My yard and gutters get covered with maple and oak seeds every year. I spend much of my time cutting them down!
Jackie Hodges
Has it occurred to any body to just drop the seeds (in a cone shaped form) from an aircraft. You would be able to seed an area much larger, quicker and waste less time. Dropped from 5,000 feet they would achieve terminal velocity enough to penetrate soil deep enough to cause germination better than this method. written by Phrank
neoneuron
The main ingredient for plants is water. We are drying up the planet by covering it and not letting it "sweat" moisture into the atmosphere. Moisture may not make rain clouds BUT IT KEEPS THEM FROM DRYING UP as they move along.. Study any cloud weather pattern going over the borderline of a desert. The out of control populations, in sections of the world, is not helping one bit. Limited, strained, resources, are giving out.
ljaques
So 6 people + $15k in equipment can plant trees quicker than a single worker? What about 6 workers?
buzzclick
This is a good initiative, and the recent election campaign promise by the Trudeau government intending to plant 2 billion trees in the next 10 years fits right in. A kind of guilt-relief gesture for pushing ahead with the Trans Mountain pipeline. We up north live in a vast expanse of territory. Our resource-depletion habits are some of the highest in the world and equaled by Americans. The trouble is our neighbors to the south are more than ten times our population. Like living next door to a family with a huge home and a 3-car garage filled with a luxury sedan, SUV, lawn tractor and leaf blowers, dirt bikes, ATV's, an off-road pickup truck and a Tesla...while you decide to do something for the environment by planting a young tree in your front lawn and some greenery at the back, next to the new expanded patio. It ain't gonna make a world of difference really. Contrast this to the commendable initiative in China where for more than 4 decades they have been planting over 60 BILLION trees in areas where the desert is/was expanding. And it's not without its challenges. Sowing the right trees in the most ideal areas, solving water-depletion problems by planting low growing bushes and more. Anthropogenic climate change is real. Every little bit helps. Even these people who want to shoot seeds form drones. We don't need Greta to wake us up with phony corporate-endorsed initiatives. The solution is in front of your nose. Stop consuming so much.
Trylon
@Jackie Hodges: Yes, that's an idea that's been floating around for a very long time. One of the earliest I know of was in 1970 - https://patents.google.com/patent/US3755962