One of the biggest crises facing the world today is deforestation. As the forests go, in excess of 100 different, insect, animal and plant species disappear every day as well. If deforestation continues at the rate it is today, the rain forests of the world will begone within 100 years!
That’s really bad news when you consider that trees remove carbon dioxide and air pollution from our air while providing us with oxygen. If all of the world’s trees are gone, life could not exist on this planet!
As the National Geographic reports, 70% of plants and animals on our planet live in forests. While wildfires and over-grazing account for some of the world’s deforestation, the majority is caused by Agriculture.
Luckily, there are people who are working to combat the dangerous effects of deforestation. One idea is known as aerial reforestation. Also called “seed bombers” they could plant practically 1 million trees in a single day.
Peter Simmons from Lockheed was the first to come up with the idea for seed bombers. He believed that the planes that were equipped to plant fields of landmines could be converted into planes that planted trees!
Mr. Simmons was quoted as saying, “The possibilities are amazing. We can fly at 1,000 ft at 130 knots planting more than 3,000 cones a minute in a pattern across the landscape – just as we did with landmines, but in this case each cone contains a sapling. That’s 125,000 trees for each sortie and 900,000 trees in a day.”
As it so happens, a couple of years ago, Moshe Alamaro, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, developed what he calls “conical canisters.”
These canisters are made of a biodegradable starch material that would hold a tree seedling packed in nutrient-filled soil. The canisters could then be dropped from low-flying planes. As they hit the ground at around 200 mph, they would bury themselves in the ground.
As stated in this article, “A large aircraft could drop as many as 100,000 saplings in a single flight: Alamaro’s system could plant as many as one million trees in one day.”
Although a similar experiment in the early 1970’s in Canada was unsuccessful, Alamaro’s system uses modern navigation technology to precisely place the seedlings. The canisters he developed can withstand the force of impact and would decompose quickly, giving the tiny saplings a good start in life.
I think this is an exciting step toward reforestation efforts. Let us know what you think in the comments.