Making Reforestation Scalable Using Drones w/ DroneSeed

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By Dragos Stefanescu. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

DroneSeed is a Seattle-based company focusing on post-wildfire reforestation using AI-powered drones & biological engineering. They serve forrest management companies & governments looking to quickly tackle forests that are taken down by fires. Acting fast is particularly important since waiting too long can result in forests not growing back, but instead having scrubby grasslands in their place which have way less capacity to absorb CO2.

The company's approach to using drones has received a precedent-setting exemption from the FAA (for unmanned aerial vehicles over 55 pounds). Their UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) platforms are custom-made, are equipped with multispectral camera arrays, high-end lidar (in a nutshell - radar with lasers), tanks of herbicide and proprietary seed dispersal mechanisms.

Historically, reforestation projects have been complex processes which use a lot of labour power - tree-planters usually burn out within 2 years given they consume the equivalent of running 2 marathons (!) in one day of replanting trees. DroneSeed achieves scalability through automation, managing to be 6x faster that a human tree-planter while covering much larger surfaces (40 acres per day). They're also fast to respond as they are capable of being airborne over a post-wildfire surface within 30 days.

DRONESEED RELEVANT LINKS

Website - https://www.droneseed.com/

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/droneseed.co

Twitter - https://twitter.com/DroneSeed

TIMECODES

3:20 - Grant & Ben's backgrounds in sustainability & how they started DroneSeed

6:06 - Why they chose reforestation

11:46 - Can we actually scale reforestation enough?

18:45 - The "2 marathons a day" task of a tree-planter

21:33 - The tech behind DroneSeed

31:18 - The efficiency & appeal for clients looking at DroneSeed

37:27 - How they plan to scale internationally & implement their tech

41:39 - Their view on international regulation & how that will enable/affect them

49:41 - Science vs Politics vs Businesses vs Society

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

Stripe Decrement Carbon - https://stripe.com/blog/negative-emissions-commitment

IPCC - https://www.ipcc.ch/

The Nature Conservancy - https://www.nature.org/en-us/

Bureau of Land Management US - https://www.blm.gov/

Mark Rober DroneSeed YouTube Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7nJBFjKqAY

29 episodes