Giving Compass' Take:

• Adele Peters reports that a startup in Myanmar is successfully using drones to scale up reforestation efforts, a method they say is ready to be used elsewhere. 

• How can funders work to bring this technology elsewhere? What variables should be taken into account when spreading this technology to other climates? 

• Learn about the impact of trees on climate change

In a remote field south of Yangon, Myanmar, tiny mangrove saplings are now roughly 20 inches tall. Last September, the trees were planted by drones. It’s early proof of technology that could help restore forests at the pace needed to fight climate change.

“We now have a case confirmed of what species we can plant and in what conditions,” says Irina Fedorenko, cofounder of Biocarbon Engineering, the startup that makes the drones. The right combination of species and specific environmental conditions made the restoration work. “We are now ready to scale up our planting and replicate this success.”

The startup, which also uses drones to plant trees and grasses at abandoned mines in Australia and on sites in other parts of the world, is working with a nonprofit in Myanmar called Worldview International Foundation. To date, the nonprofit has worked with villagers to plant trees by hand. The project began in 2012, after the government began opening the country’s borders to international business. More than six million trees have been planted so far, and the nonprofit plans to plant another four million by the end of 2019. But it also recognizes that humans can’t easily cover the amount of land that could potentially be restored.

Within three states, roughly 350,000 hectares of coastal forest needs to be restored—an area nearly as large as Rhode Island. With about 5,000 trees able to grow in a hectare, that works out to more than a billion trees. “Obviously, planting a billion trees will take a long time without the help of drones,” says Bremley Lyngdoh, founder and CEO of Worldview Impact, a separate nonprofit partnering with the Worldview International Foundation on its work in Myanmar. Two operators working with 10 drones can theoretically plant 400,000 trees in a day.

Read the full article about drones working to restore forests by Adele Peters at FastCompany.