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The science of drones and forest restoration

Over the past few months we have been working with some wonderful organisations. We have had several opportunities to present our work and to get feedback on it.

The purpose of this blog post is to share with you some of the discoveries that we have made.

In July we visited the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security in Switzerland. There, we took part in the Initiatives Fair which was designed to be a showcase of ideas in action, where we received good feedback on our mapping technology. The goal of the conference was trust building and peace promotion through land restoration. It brought together decision-makers from UN agencies, leading universities, companies and security organisations such as NATO.

Interestingly to note from the discussions, some of the issues that have dominated the news recently, such as Ebola or the Syrian war, were sparked, among other factors, by deforestation and desertification. In the case of Ebola, deforestation causes the loss of habitat of Ebola-carrying animals, who then venture closer to humans. In the case of Syria, droughts and climate change have played a direct role in deterioration of socio-economic conditions, worsening the situation.

The links between healthy ecosystems and peace and prosperity were established a long time ago. Today, the Land Lives Peace platform is now consolidating the evidence and disseminating best practices, recently published in their book, Land Restoration: Reclaiming Landscapes for a Sustainable Future.

In August, we travelled to Manchester to co-host a workshop on Automated Forest Restoration (AFR) at the 6th World Conference for Ecological Restoration. The conference attracted many exciting ideas and was a melting pot of scientists who are experts in the field of ecosystem restoration. It was remarkable to see the pace of technology adoption into a traditionally low-tech field, with vibrant discussions of our drone technology between scientist from the Society of Ecological Restoration.

Finally, in October we visited Thailand’s Chiang Mai, where we presented and took part in the world’s first AFR conference. The conference, organized by Chiang Mai University’s Forest Restoration and Research Unit (FORRU CMU) attracted scientists, ecologists, modelers and companies who share the same goals: developing new technologies for AFR. It was exciting to meet people from all over the world with the same passion and learn their best practices. Forest restoration processes were discussed from every angle: weeding, seed collection, coating and germination, ecosystem dynamics, and above and below canopy mapping.

All of these meetings had one thing in common: learning and exchange of information between BioCarbon and scientists. Such cooperation is crucial to the success of restoration projects.

Coming up, we are thrilled to be attending the event of the year: the Global Landscapes Forum and COP21 in Paris. There we not only hope to get more scientific feedback, but also to work with policy makers to put tree planting high up on the global agenda. Wish us luck!

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