Scientists have developed new drones that can identify ideal places to grow trees and sow one billion plants every year, an advance that may help combat deforestation.
Deforestation and forest degradation make up 17% of the world’s carbon emissions — more than the entire world’s transportation sector, according to the UN.
Researchers from U.K.-based company BioCarbon Engineering helped build a drone system that can scan the land, identify ideal places to grow trees, and then fire germinated seeds into the soil. The new drones can plant in areas previously impossible to reach, like steep hills, researchers said.
The firing drone follows a pre-set planting pattern determined from an algorithm, which uses information from a separate scanning drone, they said.
To work out the best possible place to plant, the team used the drone to map the area, looking to create a 3D model of the land, ABC News reported.
The planet loses 15 billion trees every year and much of it is cleared for farmland to feed the world’s booming population.