Australia’s largest botanical gardens use drones to accelerate tree planting and restore species native to Australia, especially after weed infestations, wildfires and droughts have made the gardens in poor condition.
Currently, more than 52 million hectares of land in Australia are believed to be devastated.
Michael Elgay, curator manager at the Australian Botanical Gardens, said he had cleared a jungle of invasive weed African olives, the main criminal in their gardens.
“After decades of olive invasion, few native species remained,” he said.
“This project is a great opportunity to rebuild the original native plants and create habitats in these” ground zero “cleared olive habitats. “
The $ 500,000 (US $ 345,000) research project is a collaboration between Western Sydney University, the Australian Institute of Plant Sciences, and AirSeed Technologies, an environmental restoration company that uses drones, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology.
Rachel Gallagher, a senior researcher at the Hawksbury Institute for Environmental Studies at Western Sydney University, said there is an urgent need for scalable solutions to restore lost forests and biodiversity due to the devastated land of Australia. I said there is.
“By maintaining the status quo, we cannot achieve the key goals of our national and global reconstruction programs,” Gallagher said.
“We are in urgent need of new technologies that can reduce seed waste and quickly plant many seeds, which will benefit both carbon sequestration and biodiversity.”
Peter Cuneo, a project partner investigator at Plant Bank in Australia, said planting seeds directly in this way could revolutionize the way native plant species are protected and protected for future generations in Australia. Said.
“The drone contains pre-formed seed pods containing seeds, nutrients and microbial inoculants to germinate from pellet pods and establish seedlings when the conditions are right,” Cuneo said. I am.
This process consists of four steps. Understand the ground and soil, manufacture seed pods, plant, and post-plant monitoring to confirm success. However, with careful planning, the actual planting takes only about 10 minutes to plant up to 1,000 seed pods.
After the Blacksummer wildfire, the World Wildlife Fund tried a special tree-planting drone to help grow new homes for koalas and other wildlife. The project, in collaboration with scientists, businesses and indigenous leaders, has planted tens of thousands of eucalyptus trees in one of Australia’s largest rehabilitation programs in history.