It's Raining Seeds. Hallelujah.

A British startup wants to use drones to fight deforestation.

April 13, 2015

UAE Drones for Good England from zee on Vimeo

Unmanned aerial vehicles are gaining some valuable job experience. There are already drone rangers, deliverymen, and firefighters, but now these flying bots can add one more skill to the ol’ resume: Forester.

BioCarbon Engineering, a U.K.-based startup run by a former NASA engineer, is on a mission to fight industrial-scale deforestation, which robs our planet of 26 billion trees each year. First, drones conduct aerial surveys and produce detailed 3-D maps of areas to be reforested. Then, planting drones fly in and sow the seeds. The drones can plant 36,000 seeds a day at a cost of just 15 percent of traditional methods, such as planting by hand. The company hopes to put their plans into action by the end of the year.

Of course, nothing combats deforestation like not doing it in the first place. But until we get better at that, these green machines will be soaring over new saplings.

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

onEarth Story

A new study shows that the Amazon’s largest land animals are exceptional at dispersing seeds.

Personal Action

You can help rescue the planet’s diminishing agrodiversity . . . even if you’re more of an eater than a grower.

onEarth Story

To save the critically endangered Ridgway’s hawk, scientists sent it to this Dominican resort town.

Northeast Dispatch

New forestry techniques that create the look of old-growth habitats can boost biodiversity—with extra carbon storage as a bonus.

Join Us

When you sign up you'll become a member of NRDC's Activist Network. We will keep you informed with the latest alerts and progress reports.