Distant Imagery, a Dubai-based company, has been developing specialised drones to help re-plant lost mangrove forests.
The drones can drop around 2,000 germinated seeds or 500 seedballs in just ten minutes, showcasing the potential there is to revolutionise seed planting. Having the ability to plant this many seeds in such a short space of time means the process of replanting and reforesting could become considerably quicker and more efficient than current re-planting methods, which are usually done by hand.
Another benefit to these drones is that they are easy to build and use, making them easy for local communities to utilise in their areas. Being easy to use means that there is huge potential for re-wilding and re-foresting to be done both efficiently and on a large scale, as you wouldn’t need specialised skills to be able to work the devices.
Already the drones have successfully planted over 50,000 seeds in Abu Dhabi's Mirfa lagoon since the start of the project in 2020, with plans for further continuation and expansion around the globe in the future.
Mangroves are particularly important to re-plant due to their large role in helping to fight climate change, as the mangrove forests essentially act like ‘carbon-sinks’, storing three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests.
Mangroves are also great for biodiversity, and plays a large role in the overall ecosystem, with 80% of global fish catch being effected directly or indirectly by the plant. In addition, they also help to protect coastal communities, by slowing erosion and protecting against storm surge, flooding and hurricanes.
The drones created by Digital Imagery are therefore playing an essential role in helping to get re-foresting back on track, giving the planet a helping hand to get its ecosystems back on track. Looking to the future, the company hopes that they can take their drones worldwide to help other re-planting efforts and projects.