ENVT 200 03

Drones planting 100,000 trees a day


News Article-

A DJI Inspire drone hovers during a drone training session for Somali police in Mogadishu, Somalia May 25, 2017. Picture taken May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Feisal Omar - RTX37PVN

I recently read a news article pertaining to deforestation and an innovative new way to go about rebuilding our forests. The news article discussed how companies are beginning to utilize drones to plant  hundreds of thousands germinated seed pods. In the article the author discussed how these drones act as miniature flying tractors that can not only access areas where traditional vehicles cannot but can also scan the topography of the area. In doing this these drones can avoid areas like rocky areas or bodies of water, where a seed is unable to grow. In the article it discussed how hand planting trees was a slow and expensive task. In using these drones, we will be able to focus more of our time and financial resources towards other goals such as changing the  overexploitation of animals living in these deforested areas. Aside from the benefit of flying, these drones can plant 100,000 seeds per day. This is not only an obvious environmental advantage but also an economic one. The author of the news article Charlotte Edmond states, “The system’s engineers estimate that their method is about 10 times faster and only 20% of the cost of hand planting. And because there is no heavy machinery involved, it’s possible to plant in hard-to-reach areas that have no roads or steep, inaccessible terrain.” This company is based out of Great Britain and has trialled there drones in multiple countries around the world. They have even inspired companies here in the United States to begin this innovative new process of mass seed planting from drones. This brings us back to a critical environmental question discussed in class: Can efficiency prevent ecological degradation? While I do not anticipate that technological efficiency can completely prevent future ecological decline, I do believe human innovation can and will significantly slow this decline. As always there is possible bias in this article but in my opinion the author did a superb job remaining unbiased and informative for the audience. With the article being on the World Economic Forum I see this article place for a few different groups including members of the engineering, and computer science community to name a few. The only issue I can see in the near future (which is not based on any science but merely my opinion) is possibly a lack in seed diversity as these seeds are not naturally reproducing but being made in a domestic environment. If a certain disease takes out on of these trees, it could possibly wipe out all of them.It was enlightening to finally read an article that was positive. While I have noticed a common theme in environmental writings is that all of planet earth is doomed and everything human beings do is wrong from driving a fuel burning car to merely existing, this article was a beacon of hope. I believe if more companies and people took an innovative approach to solving problems like this one, we can surely curb the environmental decline as well the toxic cycle of negative thinking.



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3 thoughts on “Drones planting 100,000 trees a day

  1. gossdm

    It’s fascinating how technology is helping the environment rather than harming it. Usually I see technology destroying the animals’ habitat and causing deforestation, but making drones plant trees is something I’ve never expected.

  2. prof.saunders

    What an interesting article! I`m also curious to know what kind of seeds they are planting and whether or not they will help the natural biodiversity of the areas they are planting in.

  3. sandersjc

    I really enjoyed reading this! I didn’t know that anyone was using drones to plant trees, or that they were even capable of this for that matter. It is interesting to think about the question of human activities leading to ecological degradation. I agree that we cannot solve everything with technology, but I also agree that we can do our best to slow it, and this kind of technology seems like a step in the right direction.

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