Enhancing direct seeding with unmanned aerial vehicles, operational capacity, and seed technology in the western US and beyond

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Tiffani Manteuffel-Ross, Matthew Aghai

Publication Date:

DroneSeed is a Seattle-based startup developing software, hardware, and infrastructure for land surveying, and aerial seed deployment in forests and rangelands. 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 limited seed supply precisely at scale, establishing seedlings from seed because of biotic and abiotic conditions (e.g. invasive species, seed predation, and moisture availability), and associated costs (such as labor). DroneSeed is currently paid per acre to survey and distribute seed that’s been manufactured into a vessel to provide enabling technology, such as substrates and amendments to protect seed or promote germination. We’re trialing this technology for public, private, and philanthropic land management organizations in the US, with trials underway in New Zealand and Canada as well. The presentation will provide an overview of the company’s technology and innovations to revegetation processes, introduce select projects, and highlight the research and development supporting our data-driven approach. We will focus on efforts from 2018 to 2020 to collect greenhouse and field data on the efficacy of seed enablement technology in direct seeding post-fire and post-harvest landscapes across the Western US, Canada, and New Zealand. We will present the first year growing season seedling establishment results of project sites with native conifers in the western US and Canada. We will also present pilot studies of native grasses in the US and native species of New Zealand. We will share next steps and how this seeding technology can play a role in restoration and address challenges we still face while building towards scalable solutions for ecosystem restoration.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program