Devastated forests could soon be replanted from the air

January 31st, 2009 - 2:15 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 31 (ANI): If tests of a technology being developed in the UK prove successful, forests devastated by fire or illegal logging could soon be replanted from the air.

According to a report in New Scientist, developed by C-Questor of Weybridge, Surrey, the technique involves dropping and planting hundreds of tree seedlings from a helicopter, greatly increasing the speed with which forests can be replanted, and reducing costs.

Jeff Burley of C-Questor, and former head of the Oxford Forestry Institute at the University of Oxford, said that 75 per cent of seeds scattered from the air are wasted, either because they get eaten, or they are blown onto unsuitable ground.

C-Questors answer is to drop viable seedlings, not vulnerable seeds, in tough, biodegradable plastic cones.

Each one contains soil, water-retaining compounds and a 15-centimetre seedling.

When dropped from an altitude of about 7 metres, the rigidity of the cone allows it to bury its nose in the ground, according to inventor Peter Millar.

As each projectile is released, three plastic legs spring out to keep the seedling upright.

Up to 200 such projectiles can be individually released, under computer control, from a mattress-sized device slung beneath the helicopter.

The company expects trials of its Treepak technology to take place later this year in Brazil, if funding can be secured.

Commercial interest is likely to centre on replanting forests of tropical hardwoods such as mahogany and teak, said Burley. (ANI)

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