Can drones help reforest our forests?
Forests are part of our ecosystem and they cover 30% of the earth’s surface. Forests provides lumber, provides fuel to cook and boil water, provide nutritious food, offer medicines, animal fodder and homes for animals and are a source of income for many.
Due to climate change and unstainable human practices forests are fast disappearing.
In the SDG framework, deforestation is regarded as a major challenge and the Sustainable Development Goal 15. Here are some facts and figures
- Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood. This includes some 70 million indigenous people
- Forests are home to more than 80 per cent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects
2.6 billion people depend directly on agriculture, but 52 per cent of the land used for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation
- As of 2008, land degradation affected 1.5 billion people globally
- Arable land loss is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate
- Due to drought and desertification each year 12 million hectares are lost (23 hectares per minute), where 20 million tons of grain could have been grown
- 74 per cent of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally
How can technology be used to halt deforestation? In a previous blog on e-Agriculture, we looked at the application of ICTs in forestry management; and a number of cases were provided.
Drones planting more than 100,000 trees a day
Chris smith, writes of BioCarbon Engineering - British company, backed up by a drone manufacturer Parrot have devised a technology that will allow a drone to map out an area for efficient tree planting.
A first drone flies over the selected area and maps the land. The mapping produces a pattern used to define an efficient tree-planning area by studying the topography and soil quality. The collected data is interpreted using an algorithm that chooses the best place to plant the trees.
A second drone follows up with germinated ‘seedpots’ which are dropped at a rate of 1 second for a maximum of 100,000 units a day. Using this calculation 60 drones could plant 1 billion trees every year. This technology is being tested in various locations,
Watch this video
Video credits: BioCarbon Engineering
This is one example by BioCarbon Engineering, but there are many other firms that have used drones to plant seeds, or to spread fertilizer or spray herbicides.
It remains to be seen how this technology will evolve, let us know if you have further examples in this regard by replying to this news item