Seattle-based startup DroneSeed is using drones to help restore forests after devastating wildfires in the US.
As a result of climate change, fire seasons in recent years have become longer with higher levels of destruction due to hotter fires that quickly spread out across more woodland.
Since the start of 2022, the United States have seen a total of 32,247 wildfires, the consequences of which are more than 3.3 million acres of burned land.
The early start to the fire season along with a catastrophic beginning in New Mexico are likely to make this year a record breaker in fire devastation.
In the past, wildfires left seeds in the ground and at the tops of trees, which due to the higher temperatures and intensity of today’s fires is no longer the case, as the seeds in the soil are destroyed and the treetops are burned up.
As a result, natural regeneration cannot occur.
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DroneSeed, a company that calls itself a “one-stop shop for reforestation” is offering a solution and is claiming to be ready to reforest thousands of acres of destroyed land only 30 days after the fires have been put out.
The startup uses drone swarms to spread seeds and seedlings across the fire-devastated land.
In turn, the seeds are dropped into environmentally friendly, plant-based containers called pucks, where they can sprout roots and grow.
Each drone can cover about three-quarters of an acre of terrain in one flight, dropping several thousands of seeds as they go.
DroneSeed also became the first company to have been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for such activities aimed at replanting forests in October 2020.
“The aircraft themselves, they are not what you can get at Best Buy. They’re eight feet in diameter,” said CEO Grant Canary. “They carry a 57-pound payload. We operate them in groups of three to five, and they’re going out there and they’re dropping seed vessels onto the landscape in pre-surveyed areas.”