We came across this story that had gone viral a few months ago and thought it was perfect considering it was National Love A Tree Day!
By reusing old airplanes and retrofitting them to drop seeds instead of landmines, Lockheed Martin and Aerial Reforestation Inc. have anticipated that we could plant a billion trees every year.
According to an article by the Guardian and followed-up by Treehugger and Inhabitat, Lockheed Martin retrofitted a fleet of unused and decommissioned C-130 Hercules cargo planes, originally created to drop land mines, to drop “seed bombs” instead. If the plan goes according to Lockheed Martin’s design, the planes will be recommissioned as foresters. In a single day, each plan can drop up to 900,000 trees. Take into account that 2,500 C-130s are sitting unused in 70 different countries, a lot of tree saplings can surely be planted.
The idea for “seed bombing” originally came from former RAF pilot Jack Walters. His idea was published in a scientific paper almost 36 years ago. Unfortunately, Walters’ idea was deemed technologically impossible at the time. That is no longer the case today, as Peter Simmons, a Lockheed Martin representative, explains excitedly.
“The possibilities are amazing. We can fly at 1,000ft at 130 knots planting more than 3,000 cones a minute in a pattern across the landscape – just as we did with landmines, but in this case each cone contains a sapling. That’s 125,000 trees for each sortie and 900,000 trees in a day.”
“Seed bombing” has become quite popular in recent years, as re-forestation takes on a value unmeasureable to money. Aerial reforestation can be used in any area that used to contain trees, and even in some deserts, and removes the requirement for individuals to perform the slow seeding process by hand.
The fastest growing trees in the world grow 3+ feet per year, once they’ve reached a standing 5 feet. Many trees reach maturity in under 10 years. This process counter-acts the negative effects of forestation, planting many hundred times the amount of trees that are cut down each year.
The current proposal retrofits unused C-130 Hercules cargo planes to drop cones of seeds. The cones “bury themselves in the soil of a deforested area at the same distance that one would want them to be if planting the trees by hand. The tree bombs don’t explode on impact but rather their casing dissolves over time and they contain a measure of fertilizer and enough moisture to ensure that the tree takes root.”
To learn more about “seed bombing,” Minds provided a video that thoroughly explains how the process works. They are attached below for your viewing.