Lauren Fletcher has set a goal to fight climate change by planting one billion trees a year with her fleet of unmanned aircraft (drones).
Fletcher, CEO of Oxford-based BioCarbono Engineering, and his team are developing seeding technologies that will be integrated into drones equipped with sophisticated sensors, allowing them to carry out “precision forestry. ” They will use geospatial information for forest planning and management, as well as for site-specific silvicultural operations.
This technology has reached the UAE Drones semi-finals in the final phase that took place in Dubai. The winner is awarded $1 million to help develop their project.
“We are hopeful of dramatically reducing the cost of tree planting so that we can inspire governments to invest in reforestation projects” Lauren Fletcher.
Global deforestation is one of the biggest problems contributing to climate change, along with mining, agriculture and urban sprawl destroying ecosystems across the planet. However, Fletcher and his team want to contribute to the fight against industrial-scale deforestation with industrial-scale reforestation.
“I had been following drone trends for the past 5 years,” says Fletcher. “Global deforestation is happening on an industrial scale. Governments and non-governmental organizations are spending billions on tree planting, but the standard method of planting by hand cannot keep up with the destruction. ”
Combining his 20-year track record as an engineer and knowledge about climate change gained at Stanford University, Fletcher came up with this idea, which aims to greatly expand reforestation, providing access to remote areas.
Planting seeds by hand is often a time consuming and expensive process. Fletcher and his team aim to plant germinated seeds using precision agriculture techniques, aiming to increase the rate of reforestation.
“We are hopeful of dramatically reducing the cost of tree planting so that we can inspire governments to invest in reforestation projects.”
“We see ourselves as a new tool that will improve current reforestation programs,” says Fletcher.
Fletcher and his team are collaborating with the environmental NGO Imozen in the Brazilian Amazon. Fletcher believes that alongside the benefit of the environment, the proliferation of new trees in our world will also have a significant social impact.