Scientists Are Using Drones To Fight Deforestation In A Way You Can't Imagine

A million times better than any other way!

Scientists Are Using Drones To Fight Deforestation In A Way You Can't Imagine
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To fight the growing phenomenon of deforestation, scientists from the renowned Indian University, Indian Institute of Science or IISc Bangalore are all set to help the environment in the most innovative way possible till now. 

A professor from the Department of  Aerodynamics at IISc, Bangalore in collaboration with two other scientists from Dr H N Science Centre and Department of Forest have prepared a plan to cultivate a whole new forest on the banks of river Pinakini in the Gauribidanur area in Karnataka's Kolar district.

On World Environment Day, June 5th, the team of the scientists along with the college volunteers held their first ever drone-seeding trial on the banks of river Pinakini. 

The ambition of the team is to reach the inaccessible areas with the help of drones and plant them with trees to accomplish the overall goal, thus converting the unused land on the river bed into a dense green forest.

This project of seed-bombing through drones is a three-year-plan and here are its features.

Son of a farmer,  professor KPJ Reddy's attachment to the project.

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"I'm basically from that area (Gauribidanur in Karnataka); son of a farmer, came to academia… keen to bring back my younger days, when the river used to flow for three to four months a year. I need to rejuvenate it," says professor KPJ Reddy over a phone conversation with Factor Daily. 


How much area will be influenced and for how long will this project be carried?

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Dr. S N Omkar,  Chief Research Scientist at the Department of Aerospace Engineering, IISc.

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Dr S N Omkar revealed that the aim of this project is to at least seed 10,000 acres of land every year for the next consecutive three years. 

Beside the banks of river Pinakini...

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The trial by the scientists took place at the barren land near the river bed of river Pinakini, on the occasion of World Environment day. 


But why using drones for cultivation and not traditional methods?

Drone planting is much cheaper than the tradional hand planting system.

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The drone drove planting system, although is not as good as the traditional hand planting system but it is quicker and is less costly.

The drone which is being used 

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The drone was flown over the barren land and to drop seed bombs on the hill. 


But why only this place at Karnataka, not any other?

The hill where the seed bombing trial took place. 

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As this region is a dry area, the team has the interest to bring back the rains to the place with a dense forest at the highest altitude nearby.

The drone-dropped seeds wrapped in balls of manure and soil.

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To increase the odds of germination, seeds that were carried by the drone, were wrapped in balls of manure and soil, prepared by the Department of Forests. 


So how will these small balls be able to get themselves into the hard surface of the soil?

Seed bombing!

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Dr Omkar told Factor Daily, "We wanted to take these UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and make appropriate gadgets to drop the seeds. In terms of dispensing the seeds, we have to develop some mechanisms so that it can be efficiently dispensed in a controlled way. Right now we can't do that, and we make a simple air drop."


This technology of seed bombing was first initiated, back in 1930's when planes were used to reforest certain areas in the mountains of Honolulu.

Right now they're just dropping the seeds from the drone as they don't have a mechanism for that.

Seed Bombing Through Drone

Dr Omkar told Factor Daily, "We wanted to take these UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and make appropriate gadgets to drop the seeds. In terms of dispensing the seeds, we have to develop some mechanisms so that it can be efficiently dispensed in a controlled way. Right now we can't do that, and we make a simple air drop."


So does it work by simply dropping the small soil balls?

The process of sowing the seeds into the land by bombing.

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The "Seedpods" are typically compressed bundles of soil containing live vegetation, which are ready to grow as soon they hit the ground.

After getting to the land, these soil balls break open.

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As soon as the ball reaches the ground, the ball breaks open and allow the germinated seeds to grow.


However, this is not the first time such a project has been brought to action.

BioCarbon Engineering is all about doing such stuff 

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Oxford-based, BioCarbon Engineering is a company which in the year 2015 planted 1 billion trees in England using drones. These drones had a special mechanism which fired the seedpods into the land.

A small pressurized canister attached to the drone to hold these seeds.

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This canister will provide the necessary propulsive force for the seedpods to penetrate the soil surface.



Lauren Fletcher, Founder, BioCarbon Engineering.

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BioCarbon Engineering was established by Lauren Fletcher to fight the damage that the human race have given to our mother earth. 

This engineering start-up uses drones to monitor the area which was once deforested and according to the data collected, they drop Seedpods for growing forests there.

Have a look at the procedure of seed sowing with drones.

This new initiative for fighting deforestation is truly inspirational for all.

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