We are chopping down about 15 billion trees a year and planting about 9 billion. That’s a net loss of 6 billion trees a year.
It is estimated that the world loses between 74,000 and 95,000 square miles of forest a year, which is an area the size of 48 football fields lost every minute.
Around the world, major biodiversity zones that are crucial to the ecological equilibrium of Planet Earth’s climate like the Amazon Basin and the Boreal Forest are rapidly shrinking.
But what if we could reverse this loss of our global forests and actually start rewilding the edges of these massive biodiversity zones again? We have the capability to reverse the dangerous feedback loops that are pumping increasing amounts of carbon into our atmosphere and drastically reducing the crucial biodiversity of our Planet.
This where the idea of rewilding comes in. Rewilding is defined on Wikipedia as “large-scale conservation aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and core wilderness areas, providing connectivity between such areas, and protecting or reintroducing apex predators and keystone species.”
The best way to rewild the Earth is to replant the forests. But there’s a problem. Planting trees is a slow and expensive process. To keep pace with our growing population and the global economic forces that are leveling our forests, we need an industrial-scale solution.
That’s why we are developing partnerships with innovative new companies that can plant trees quickly and cheaply. Emerging technologies that combines remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and unmanned aerial vehicles are enabling us to more efficiently plant trees and do it in areas that are difficult to access or otherwise unviable.
A fleet of tree-planting drones loaded with germinated seed pods can fire them into the ground at a rate of 10 seeds per minute. While a human tree planter can plant 2000-3000 seeds a day by hand, a single drone can plant 10 seeds a minute and close to 15,000 trees in a single day at a lower cost.
Scaling this up, drones give us the capability to reverse that net loss of 6 billion trees a year and start growing our global forest ecosystems again.
Planting forests by drone is estimated to be as much as 10x faster and only 20% of the cost of planting trees by hand, which makes it a disruptive innovation.
In his landmark manifesto Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, the famous biologist and naturalist E. O. Wilson proposes a grand idea of setting aside half of Planet Earth for nature to thrive.
As the human population expands beyond 7.6 billion people, we are using more resources and the result is the sixth great extinction event where populations of animals, birds, and insects are in massive decline. We may be the next species to face extinction if we don’t take responsibility for protecting our global ecosystems.
E.O. Wilson’s offers a bold proposal for establishing huge biodiversity parks to protect, restore, and connect habitats at a continental scale. These massive biodiversity parks could be like national parks on a much larger and more interconnected scale.
These massive biodiversity zones could become “classrooms” for people to learn about the ecology of their homelands through direct experience of the ecosystems in action. They could also be used to empower a creative class of both indigenous and naturalist teachers to restore ecological knowledge in society.
Here are four proposals to rewild some of the major wildlife corridors of North America:
With roughly half of humanity living in the urban environments today and some estimates claiming that this number may rise to 90% by the end of the 21st century, we must also reinvent our cities to make them more ecological sustainable while also connecting more urban people to the wilderness beyond the city.
We will be announced more on our Rewilding projects in the near future. Feel free to join our community by following on Facebook, Instagram or subscribing to our email newsletter.