THAILAND — Many thanks to Thailand for the brief reprieve from the bummer news cycles of the last few weeks. In an attempt to reforest barren wilderness in the country by 2017, Thailand is dropping hundreds of thousands of seeds from old military aircraft.
Above image: A computer rendering depicting how seed bombing works. Thailand is taking a slightly different approach by using raw earth instead of temporary metal containers.
Faster and more efficient than sending seeds in on foot, the planes can drop up to 900,000 of the trees in a single day. The clay connection here are the protective balls of raw earth Thailand uses. Their technique is different (and perhaps cheaper) than one described by Paul Brown in The Guardian. One process involves degradable metal cones:
The tree cones are pointed and designed to bury themselves in the ground at the same depth as if they had been planted by hand. They contain fertilizer and a material that soaks up surrounding moisture, watering the roots of the tree.
The containers are metal but rot immediately so the tree can put its roots into the soil.
The above idea was developed by former RAF pilot Jack Walters and Lockheed Martin in the United States. It’s being marketed by Aerial Forestation Inc., of Newton, Massachusetts. The whole process reminds me of an old nature show I saw when I was a kid— planes flying above forests would drop thousands of yellow cubes that each contained a dose of rabies vaccination. Turns out you can run bombing campaigns on both viruses and barren earth.
The following quote gets the prize for the most kumbaya thing we’ll run this month:
Peter Simmons, from Lockheed, said: “Equipment we developed for precision planting of fields of landmines can be adapted easily for planting trees.
“There are 2,500 C-130 transport aircraft in 70 countries, so the delivery system for planting forests is widely available – mostly mothballed in military hangers waiting for someone to hire them.
“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.”
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.daily.
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