Tree Planting Festivals, Air Cannons, Self-Burying Seeds, And The Complexities Of Reforestation

At first glance the problem of how to plant trees would seem to be a straightforward one: take a seed, jam it into the soil and let nature take its course. Or alternatively do much the same with a sapling that already got a start in a nice, comfortable greenhouse before leaving it to its own devices. To the average person this is generally the point where it’s considered a ‘done deal’, but one only has to take a look at the average survival rate of saplings out in the wild to perish that thought.

Each environment offers its own set of challenges when it comes to reforestation, which can perhaps be considered ironic as many of these trees are being planted where forests used to be, albeit centuries ago in many cases. There are the easy spots, such as flat fields, with rich soil, ample rain and mild weather, to the challenging terrain of Iceland, or mountainous terrain. Here the logistics are challenging and where once rich forests flourished, the very landscape seems adamant to reject this botanic intrusion.

Further complicating matters here are the myriad of reasons why we’re looking at planting so many new trees that it has even become an internet thing, as with the 2019 ‘Team Trees’ 20 million new trees challenge. So how did we get here, why exactly are we doing all of this, and how much of these attempts do bear fruit?

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Approaching The Drop Location: Seeds Away!

Arbor Day is a holiday many countries dedicate to planting trees, but with the steady encroachment of climate change, we need to maximize our time. Dronecoria doesn’t just plant a tree; it sows “hectares in minutes.” A hectare is 10,000 square meters or 2.471 acres. These aren’t the drones you’re looking for if you intend a weekend of gardening, this is in the scope of repopulating a forest with trees or reinvigorating a park with wildflowers. The seed balls in the hopper are 10kg of native seeds coupled with beneficial microorganisms to help the chances of each drop.

The drone’s body is laser cut from what looks like baltic birch plywood. The vector files are available in Illustrator (.ai) and CAD (.dxf) formats released under Creative Commons BY-SA, so give credit if you redistribute or remix it. In the 3D realm, you’ll need a SeedShutter and SeedDisperser, and both models are available in STL format.

We have other non-traditional seed spreading methods like canons, but it is a big job, and if you’ve build something to pitch in, drop us a tip!

Planting 20 Million Trees, Using Drones, Cannons, And More Unconventional Ways

When YouTuber MrBeast hit 20 million subscribers, it kicked off the promise to plant 20 million new trees by 2020. While seeming rather mad for a single person to attempt such a feat, the channel has begun an organized effort under the banner of ‘Team Trees‘. With many famous and less famous YouTubers and other online personalities pitching in, along with a number of companies and organizations, it seems like it’s not as far-fetched of an idea as it first seemed.

We’ve embedded MrBeast’s video after the break where you’ll also find a video by Mark Rober, who teamed up a company called DroneSeed, who use large flying drones to distribute seeds contained in nutrition pods over large areas. Their focus is on reforestation after large wildfires and other events that leave the land devoid of trees. Of course, this being seeds, it will take quite a while for results to become visible.

The impatient Canadians over at Linus Media Group figured that they’d rather plant tree seedlings at a breakneck pace, cobbling together a nitrogen cannon that fires a nutrition pellet into the soil, creating the hole for the seedling, or alternately firing the pellet and seedling into the soil in one go from the breach-loading cannon. Obviously the results from the latter method are decidedly more questionable, taking a bit chunk out of the about 300 seedlings they were planning to add to the local nature.

Regardless of the method chosen, any significant reforestation around the world could be a crucial part of reducing the global increase of atmospheric CO2, and the climate challenges this creates.  With sources putting the total number of trees in the world today at about 3 trillion, 20 million more doesn’t seem like a lot, yet techniques we’re learning today to speed up the process of reforestation might play a major role in the near future.

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