A team of Canadian science and engineering graduates is working to plant 1 billion trees with drones by 2028. The project, called Flash Forest, combines drone use, specially designed pods and accelerated seed germination. According to Flash Forest, the technology is 10 times faster than a worker’s, and costs 80 percent less than traditional tree-planting methods.
Flash Forest is equipped with a heavy-duty drone with pneumatic launchers that can insert seed-containing pods into the soil at the desired depth. Each custom pod contains at least three pre-germinated seeds, roots, fertilizers and other plant-favorite ingredients. Seeds have germinated before they are inserted into the ground, are expected to continue to grow after entering the soil, and develop a powerful rooting system.
After planting, the team will use spray drones to track the process, providing nitrogen and other nutrients to the seedlings. In addition, the team used a separate mapping drone to focus on the plant’s growth process. The team hopes to plant eight different species to produce healthy ecosystems, while also planting enough trees to offset North America’s carbon emissions.
Flash Forest’s pods use less water and can be mass produced in 30 days than traditional planting methods. Flash Forest technology can grow trees faster and more cost-effectively than young seedlings that typically need to be planted in a nursery for 12 to 24 months.