Marrying forestry to technology, the startup Flash Forest
, in Toronto, is using aerial drones to plant trees 10 times faster than human planters with a goal of 1 billion trees by 2028
. Since testing prototype devices last year, it has already planted several thousand trees across Ontario using pre-germinated seed pods containing a mixture of species. The drones are capable of planting trees at just 50 cents per pod, or a quarter of the cost of typical planting methods. Funded partly by a Kickstarter campaign, the group will start planting trees in April, with at least 150,000 in the ground by the end of this year. At full capacity, one drone operator will be able to plant 100,000 seed pods per day.
Flash Forest spokesperson Angelique Ahlstrom says, “Our goals are to have a significant and measurable impact on mitigating climate change in the next decade, while combatting deforestation and biodiversity loss on a global scale. We feel we are one of the only ways that the federal government will be able to fulfill its pledge to plant 2 billion trees in the next 10 years.”