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Planting 500 Billion Trees

Aerial view of rows of planted trees

Tom Fisk/

The UK tech company Dendra claims their drone can plant two trees per second using artificial intelligence for guidance in an effort to re-green the Earth. Their ambitious goal is to plant 500 billion trees by 2060 with 400 teams of two drone operators and 10 drones per team. The plan would plant 10 billion trees per year 10 times more cheaply than planting by hand, especially in remote areas.

First, the replanting areas are identified using a combination of satellite images and drone-collected data. Then, specialized drones carrying seedpods that contain a germinated seed and nutrients use pressurized air to fire the seeds into the ground once in proper position as determined by an algorithm. The seedpods penetrate the ground and start to grow when activated by precipitation.

The World Wildlife Fund estimates the planet is losing 27 football fields of forest every minute due to deforestation. Dendra CEO Susan Graham says, “We need to use technology to scale up our restoration efforts, and the scale we’re talking about is tens of billions of trees every year. We’ll be able to see the ecosystems that we’ve restored from space.”

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