LINCOLN, Nebraska (April 22, 2021) – The Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) today announced it will accelerate the planting of over 60,000 trees through a collaboration with AT&T and DroneSeed to deploy drones across 300 acres of the western United States devasted by wildfires.
As wildfires grow in frequency and severity, affected communities risk losing forests faster than regrowth can happen, but fast, efficient tree planting at scale is possible with technology. With support from AT&T, ADF and DroneSeed will help communities stay ahead of tree loss by releasing a fleet of connected drones to the Molalla River Watershed of Western Oregon burned in the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire In 2020, Oregon endured one of the most destructive wildfire complexes in the state’s history after the Beachie Creek Fire merged with two other local wildfires during the Labor Day Windstorm of 2020. The Molalla River Watershed suffered an extremely high severity burn, consuming 90% of the surrounding mature and old-growth forest in the watershed.
“The manual process of soil preparation and planting can no longer keep up with the increased size and severity of today’s wildfires,” said Grant Canary, CEO of DroneSeed, the first and only drone- planting operation approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. “DroneSeed’s fleet can safely and swiftly navigate steep unstable slopes up to six times faster than manual methods. Because we use seed vessels to boost establishment, we’re out reforesting within 90 days of a fire instead of after several years growing and transplanting a seedling. This helps to restore the forests we have faster, add more, and ultimately mitigate the worst effects of climate change.”
“New tree growth helps reduce the future chances of uncontrolled wildfires,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Prevention of wildfires and the replanting that follows them is part of one of the largest problems in our world – climate change,” he said. “Working with technology companies like DroneSeed and AT&T, we can speed recovery and get ahead of tree loss.”
The ADF Wildfire Restoration Collaborative works to pair private-sector partners with scalable urban and natural forestland projects to restore critical landscapes and addresses the urgency of wildfire recovery efforts worldwide.
AT&T joined the initiative in 2020, which builds on its efforts to address climate change through broadband technology while aiming for carbon neutrality across its global operations by 2035.
“Technology plays a vital role in creating long-term solutions for today’s climate challenges,” said Charlene Lake, Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP-Corporate Social Responsibility at AT&T. “We are proud to support ADF and DroneSeed in this innovative effort to protect our planet. Working together, we can help restore ecosystems today while minimizing further damage from climate change and related disasters in the years and decades to come.”
For more information about ADF’s work with AT&T and other partners on the Wildfire Restoration Collaborative, click here.
About the Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and valued partners. During the last 49 years, more than 400 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities, and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, climate change, deforestation, poverty, and hunger.
As one of the world's largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners, and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing, and celebrating trees.
DroneSeed, a Washington-based startup, is pioneering the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) alongside novel seeding enablement technology to deploy seed vessels after a wildfire. This new approach to reforestation provides land managers with an important tool to increase the speed and scale of planting efforts before competitive vegetation regrowth when faced with ever-increasing supply chain bottlenecks. Emerging carbon markets and standards are creating a financial tool to fund reforestation and afforestation efforts immediately after a wildfire. DroneSeed is pioneering efforts to utilize these methods to incentive forest landowners to rapidly reforest through the development of carbon offset projects on land affected by wildfire.
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
Stand for Equality is one of our core values at AT&T, and it’s the driving force behind our goal to make D&I both a business and a moral imperative, inside and outside our walls.
Our society doesn't work if it doesn't work equally for all. We recognize that inequalities are pervasive, and we have a role to play in helping to address them. That’s why we’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities and improving lives, particularly amongst historically underserved populations. We have a long history of investing in projects that promote academic and economic achievement and addressing community needs that promote social justice and racial equality.?With a financial commitment of more than $600 million through AT&T Aspire?since 2008, AT&T has leveraged technology, relationships and social innovation to help give people – regardless of age, gender, race or socioeconomic status – the opportunity to succeed.