Agriculture: New forest from the air? Drone drops tree seeds

After a forest fire in Beelitz, Brandenburg, in the summer of 2022, new trees are to grow there with the help of drones.

Agriculture: New forest from the air? Drone drops tree seeds

After a forest fire in Beelitz, Brandenburg, in the summer of 2022, new trees are to grow there with the help of drones. The seeds will be dropped from the air in the Seddin state forest district this Friday by aircraft. Brandenburg is breaking new ground in reforestation and is starting an experiment on a forest area that is roughly the size of five football fields.

Because of the contamination with old weapons, conventional planting of young trees is hardly possible there. It will only become clear after months or years whether the drone experiment will work and whether many young trees will sprout.

Goal of the Ministry of the Environment

In the summer of 2022, several large forest fires raged in Brandenburg. In Beelitz alone, the fire spread to more than 230 hectares. What remained was a heavily charred area. Now the forest should regenerate. The aim of the Ministry of the Environment is for pine forests to be transformed into near-natural mixed forests. They should become more resilient to the consequences of climate change.

A Berlin start-up wants to promote reforestation from the air. For the 3.5 hectare test area in the Seddin forestry district, light seeds from the tree species sand birch, mountain ash, Douglas fir and coastal fir were selected and prepared as pellets. Twelve kilos of pellets fit into the container under the drone, as the company's founder and managing director, Ole Seidenberg, said. According to the ministry, this can be used to sow seeds for one hectare of forest. The exact flight routes for the drop from a height of around 10 to 15 meters were previously researched.

Above all, the weather has to play its part - too much dryness and too much rain could damage the seeds. The ministry also cites game browsing as a risk, because deer like to eat the shoots of young trees.

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