Drones planting trees in Canada
or the past two years, a number of burnt forest sites in northern Alberta — including Horse River, Fort McMurray and Wandering River — have been visited by a swarm of drones pelting the ground with seed pods roughly the size of a dime.
Carrying around 1,600 tree seed pods each, the drones shoot out five pods per second, covering the designated area in a matter of minutes. The location where the seed pods are targeted isn't random but rather mapped out by the drones using surveying software to detect areas to avoid, such as rivers, rocks, logs and piles of slash.
The drones belong to Flash Forest, an automated reforestation startup based out of Ontario, which is using its technology to replant forests lost to wildfires in Alberta.
The company, started in 2019, is working on its drone and seed pod technology after receiving $1.8 million in funding from Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) in 2021.
Cameron Jones, co-founder and chief operating officer for the company, said the biggest challenge it faces is developing seed pods durable enough to germinate.