Army of startups fight against deforestation as Tu B’Shevat 2017 approaches

Deforestation, one of the major causes of global issues such as climate change, impacts every person in the world. The importance of trees is not a secret and is marked by the Jewish people annually on Tu B’Shevat. Over the years, innovative reforestation startups around the world have been established, growing, developing and flourishing with the advancement of technology.
Illustration Photo Credit: André Karwath/Wikimedia Commons

With Tu B’Shevat right around the corner, many Jewish people around the world are thinking about the environment and tree conservation. As trees have been disappearing from their natural habitat for centuries, the world has been waking up to the serious global and local problems deforestation has caused. Deforestation has been known to be one of the main contributors to various global issues such as climate change, flooding, landslides and the decline of biodiversity.  

Nevertheless, with today’s advanced technology, startups from all over the world are finding innovative ways to reforest the areas that were once green and beautiful, helping not only to combat the global issues but to restore the lives of the local populations.

UK-based BioCarbon Engineering seeks to plant 1 billion trees a year using drones. Via this startup’s drone technology, the company aims to “counter industrial scale deforestation using industrial scale reforestation.” BioCarbon Engineering’s drone technology removes the need for sending people to the deforested areas to plant the trees with their own hands, a process that can be very expensive, dirty and time-consuming especially if these are remote areas or have a difficult terrain for tree-planting.

BioCarbon Engineering explains that its drone technology consists of two phases. The first phase involves gathering detailed terrain data through a mapping drone. This data creates a high-quality map of the area that will be reviewed for reforestation. Seeding planting drones are used in the second phase. Seed pods, which contain a germinated seed, are dropped onto the ground from a height of about 1-2 meters. The drones do not drop the seed pods at random but follow a predetermined replanting route. The seed pods break open upon impact.

Belgian startup Greenamity focuses on reforestation projects in developing countries such as Madagascar and Bolivia. Founded in 2014, Greenamity helps small and medium sized reforestation projects get the financial support they need. By creating a link between individuals and businesses around the world and reforestation projects, Greenamity is enabling the former to help plant trees in order to combat climate change and assist the local populations.

The trees are planted by local farmers and marketed on the Greenamity website for adoption. Greenamity allows its users to see the trees' pictures and geolocation online and track its growth.

Treedom, an Italian startup, also specializes in the long-distance adoption process of trees in rural and underdeveloped areas. People who adopt a tree through Treedom get updates about the tree’s growth. In addition, Treedom invests in educating the local population about the importance of tree conservation.

The local farmers who plant the trees not only keep the revenues from the planting and caring for the trees but also keep the fruits produced by them, which enables them to better care for their families by either eating the fruits produced by the trees or selling them as a source of income. Treedom farmers are located in various places around the world including Kenya, Senegal, Haiti and Malawi.

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