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Tree-Planting Drones Developed to Rescue the Environment

Drones Used in Hurricane Harvey To Aid Houston's Recovery

“Drones overall will be more impactful than I think people recognize, in positive ways to help society.” These famous words were uttered by none other than Bill Gates himself. The co-founder of Microsoft Corporation has always been supportive of the popular flying equipment.

Gates’s enthusiasm for drones is unsurprising, as the unmanned aerial vehicle has innovated massively from delivering food and medicine in some places to even serving as an autonomous flying taxi in Dubai. The drone industry seems to have already reached its prime, but the futuristic device is just getting started as it caters to the environment sector.

Deforestation is one of the negative elements that is slowly killing the Earth. Different companies and businesses are looking for ways on how to stop it and hopefully heal the dying world.

Many startups have become interested in saving the environment and made tree planting their business, especially after The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) finished a report saying that a lot of companies around the globe are making money by planting trees.

BioCarbon Engineering, a startup company in the UK, is up for the challenge to rescue rainforests using the flight and speed capabilities of drones.  The British startup company has been aiming to create a bold solution and a bold impact on the society since 2015.

The company headed by Dr. Lauren Fletcher, a NASA veteran, is very much concerned with the environment, especially with the forest, that it developed and designed its very first drone prototype system called “Robin”.

Robin is a 30-pound drone that has the ability to plant different kinds of trees in a specific location at a very fast pace. Studies to the prototype have discovered that it can plant an estimated number of 100,000 trees every day.

Now, BioCarbon Engineering continues to develop Robin and the other fleet of tree-planting drones in order to do an industrial-scale reforestation. The startup company came up with a goal to plant 500 billion trees by 2050 to fight deforestation.

According to Fletcher, “I understand why forests were coming down so fast, but I was really puzzled as to why it was so hard to put them back together. I realized very quickly that it’s because the state of the art at the time was really hand planters, people with a bag of saplings on their shoulder going out, day after day, and bending over every 15 to 20 seconds and planting a tree, and it’s really hard, grueling work.”

How Does the Tree-Planting Drone Works?

The introduction of the tree-planting drones has definitely turned heads. And a lot of people and businesses want to know more, like how it works? The tree-planting activity of the drones is separated into two stages; surveying and planting.


BioCarbon Engineering has a surveying drone that can fly over the desired planting area in order to scan the terrain. The surveying drones will map the area’s soil type, topology, moisture, composition, and physical obstructions. Surveying is going to help BioCarbon Engineering to know what seed to plant.


The tree-planting drones then do the job. They fly autonomously over the surveyed area and plant the biodegradable seedpods.

The planting process can be done in two ways. Drones could either shoot one seedpod into the ground every six seconds or they could sprinkle the seedpods in different directions in order for them to have a natural regrowth.

A tree-planting drone can have at least 300 seedpods and it can also cover one hectare for as fast as 18 minutes. This process will surely help the farmers in the society and so is the environment.

Tree-Planting Drones Are Tested and Proven

Since 2015, BioCarbon Engineering has been doing its best to serve the community. It first used the tree-planting drone technology in a program in Myanmar last September 2017. The British startup worked together with the Worldview International Foundation, a nonprofit company that guides local tree-planting projects.

Both companies were able to plant Mangrove trees in an area of 750 hectares. The tree-planting drones have also covered another 250 hectares with 1 million additional trees.

BioCarbon Engineering has also tested their tree-planting drone activity in Australia and U.K. The tests were both deemed successful.

Other Companies Saving the Environment Using Drones

BioCarbon Engineering is not the only company that wants to help the environment. There are also others like Aerial Forestation and DroneSeed.

Aerial Forestation is a startup company in the United Kingdom that plant trees and seeds by means of deploying them on military transport aircrafts.

DroneSeed, a Washington-based company, is also saving rain forests. The startup company headed by Grant Canary is developing and providing forestry management solutions. The Washington-based startup is currently creating plans on using drones to plant trees. DroneSeed has already used drones in order to spread fertilizers and spray herbicides.

BioCarbon Engineering is playing a great purpose right now with its motive to help the environment fight deforestation. The startup company has recently received an investment from companies like and Parrot.

Tree planting and drones are two separate fields that have been combined to help the society and the environment. The continuous innovation of drones has definitely made a bold impact on a lot of people.


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