Seed-Dropping Drones Combat Deforestation in Kosovo

In a groundbreaking effort to counteract deforestation in Kosovo, drones are being used to plant seeds rapidly and efficiently. This initiative, spearheaded by the non-profit organization Sustainability Leadership Kosova (SLK) in collaboration with Croatian company Project 02, aims to restore forests lost to illegal logging and wildfires, reports Reuters. The project employs drones to drop seed balls, a method that has proven effective in other parts of the world.

Aerial Reforestation Initiative

Outside Kosovo's capital, Pristina, drones hover over barren hillsides, releasing linden and pine seeds encased in soil. This method aims to reforest areas devastated by deforestation. According to SLK, Kosovo loses over 700 hectares (about 1,730 acres) of forest annually, exacerbated by the demand for wood-fired stoves and the impacts of wildfires.

The Scale of the Problem

Deforestation in Kosovo is not just an environmental issue but also a threat to . Species like brown bears, lynx, wild goats, and roe deer are seeing their habitats diminish.

Indira Kartallozi, SLK's founder, stressed the urgency of the situation: “We need to do something now, our forests are being destroyed.”

Seed-Dropping Technique

The drones used in this initiative can plant seeds five times faster than humans and can access remote, difficult-to-reach areas. Each drone flight involves dropping around 100 seed balls, each containing multiple seeds surrounded by a protective mix of clay, sand, and rich biomass. This mixture shields the seeds from insects and rodents, enhancing their chances of germination.

Effective and Efficient Planting

Lara Vukasovic, a sustainable development expert from Project 02, highlighted the efficiency of drone planting: “The advantage is that we can plant on any terrain, especially the ones that are non-accessible for human hands.” The drones can cover one hectare (about 2.5 acres) in two hours, requiring between 2,000 to 5,000 seed balls, depending on the seed type. The germination rate stands at about 25-30%, prompting the planting of three times more seeds than needed.

The use of drones for seed planting in Kosovo represents a significant step toward combating deforestation and restoring lost forests. As SLK and Project 02 continue their efforts, the hope is to see a resurgence of forested areas and a return of wildlife to their natural habitats. This innovative approach may serve as a model for other regions facing similar environmental challenges.

By leveraging technology and sustainable practices, Kosovo is taking bold steps to ensure the future of its forests and the biodiversity that depends on them.

Photo courtesy of Reuters / Valdrin Xhemaj.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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