DroneSeed: Using UAVs to conduct surveys, herbicide applications, and aerial seed deployment in forests and rangelands

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Grant Canary

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DroneSeed is a Seattle-based startup that is developing software, hardware, and infrastructure for operational capacity of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to conduct surveying, herbicide application, and aerial seed deployment in forests and rangelands. Their mission is to provide more efficient and rapidly scalable survey and revegetation services for myriad ecosystem management needs. They are currently paid per acre to survey, mitigate invasive species with herbicides, and plant (enabled seed) for the largest timber companies in the US. They are also partnered with The Nature Conservancy and have begun seed-based rangeland restoration work in Oregon and post-fire forest restoration work in other locations in the American West. The presentation will provide an overview of the company’s technology, review projects and milestones, and outline the research and development supporting their data-driven approach. Wildfire and other large-scale ecosystem disturbances are increasing in frequency and severity. Constraints to post-disturbance revegetation include accessibility to remote areas, difficulty distributing seed precisely at scale, invasive species mitigation, and associated costs. DroneSeed is developing a multi-pronged approach to revegetation using UAVs that is applicable to large-scale post-disturbance revegetation and native plant management at an effective cost. Their supervised classification platform is the basis for a machine learning software being developed for seed placement (i.e. micrositing) for optimizing germination and survival. DroneSeed is increasing operational capacity using swarm technology, enabling multiple heavy lift aircraft to move material payloads across restoration areas with increased precision. The company is precedent setting in the regulatory environment allowing for this work.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration