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Isabella | UAV Coach

Drones For Good: DroneSeed Uses Drones in Post-wildfire Re-planting Project

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Reforestation, a $62 billion industry, is one of the best ways to combat and recover from climate-change induced disasters, such as some wildfires. However, reforestation techniques have not changed in 100 years: trees are still planted by work crews with shovels—a slow, expensive, and grueling process in which recruiting labor is a challenge.

However, DroneSeed is working to change that with semi-automated reforestation made possible with UAVs.

DroneSeed recently announced the first-ever approval by the FAA to operate heavy-lift drone swarms weighing greater than 55 pounds. The drones will be used to accelerate reforestation by planting and protecting trees. Read the article here. Make sure to share your thoughts on DroneSeed’s exciting work with drones in agriculture and reforestation in the comments below. 

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I think it’s great that they recieved funding, an FAA waiver and they have a great story but the video and the article conflate a lot of issues that actually have little to do with UAV’s effectiveness to solve the problem of reforestation.  

The reason the plants are germinated off-site and then transported and hand planted is because it’s what’s require to assure the tree takes root.   Hydro-seeding has been around for a long time, it’s well understood, not that expensive, and would be easy to scale on the ground.  If it worked for this application it would probably be deployed on a large scale.  

My skepticism is not with their ability to deploy but in the effectiveness of the methodology of planting trees.   None of the messaging addressed this issue so maybe they have the answer.  Measuring their success related to monies raised is a bit disingenuous, does anyone remember AirWare? 

 Aside from my skepticism I wish them all the luck.  It’s certainly an exciting oportunity.  

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