Over at Treehugger, they have a very interesting article about how Lockheed is re-purposing some of it’s C-130 bombers as mass tree planters.
Apparently they’ve built pods, or “cones,” each with a small sapling, that can be dropped from 1000 feet in the same manner they use for dropping mines. When the cones, which are pointed at one end, hit the ground, they bury themselves to about the same depth they would be had they been planted by hand. The cones also contain fertilizer and an absorbent material to help draw moisture from the surrounding ground. Although they’re metallic, the cones are supposed to rot away rather quickly so the tree’s roots can easily reach the soil. You can find out more about the sapling cones at How Stuff Works.
Lockheed says that they can drop … err, plant … about 125,000 trees a flight, planting around 900,000 trees a day.
I don’t exactly know why, but while reading this article I find myself feeling a slight sense of dread. Repopulating a forest is a very large project and, although I’m sure this method would cut the time down significantly, I can’t help but begin to think of all the little mis-calculations or things that could go wrong, causing all sorts of disasters.
It sort of brings to mind another large project that didn’t quite work out as planned. Such as when the Oregon State Highway Department tried to remove a dead whale from a public beach using dynamite.
But the Tree Bombs are cool. No, really!