We are delighted to have made it so far into the final round of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. It was an honor to be selected and we are happy to be in good company of changemakers who are improving our planet. Here is the interview with our CEO Susan Graham published by Green Challenge.
"If we planted 500 billion trees we would offset all of human carbon emissions”
Globally, we lose about 15 billion trees annually. We replant about 9 billion, meaning a net loss of around 6 billion trees. Causes include forest management, also bushfires, or land use changes. In Australia, we focus on coal mining ecosystem restoration, particularly in New South Wales. The mines move at a rate of around 100 hectares per year, leaving behind land which needs to be restored. The government has regulations in place, but it can be technically challenging.
Talk us through some of the effects of deforestation.
“Take Myanmar: it’s left with only around 20% of mangrove forests due to deforestation. This decrease in that mangrove buffer region means that tidal storms have been very damaging, wiping out villages and killing thousands. The importance of mangroves as a protective buffer is now much better understood, and local communities now see them as places of economic uplift for both crab harvesting and fish farming.”
How does BioCarbon Engineering use data in reforestation?
“Data from satellites and drones helps in two ways. First is on the management and decision support side to see the existing or previous natural landscape, and distribution of species. Second is planning and execution of activities: we use imagery data to inform GPS-enabled drones’ flight paths, and that helps to automate planting, which in turn enables planting at scale.”
What advantages does this data-driven approach offer compared to traditional methods?
“In a lot of places, people will either have a map taken by aeroplane, or just use Google Earth satellite imagery. They’ll draw things out freehand and manually plant, either by hand or tractor. This means that you’re not capturing data at the actuation point. Our approach allows us to integrate data, and geotag where we’ve planted so when you monitor over 20 years, say, you can see where interventions have been made, and monitor outcomes.”
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