Planting is, of course, a very important part of our technology, as this is when the design element of the process can be put into practice and we actually put the trees in the ground. Part of our planting technology includes the Seed Incubator and Coated Seeds, both of which are designed to allow us to plant more efficiently and at adequate survival.
Trees raised in tree nurseries are coddled and cared for in a way that is much harder to do out in the field. Nurseries have limited capacity, especially when aiming for a large number of species to meet biodiversity needs. Moreover, planting of living tree stock is restricted to the rainy season as it demands a lot of water. The onset of rainy seasons becomes less predictable in a changing climate, which is incredibly frustrating for nursery operations/planning.
The use of tree stock has become a bit more challenging in a rapidly changing climate. Erratic rainfall upsets the planting window, thus frustrating the operational planning of nurseries. Seeds don’t have that problem because of their dormancy. But while seeds are awaiting prosperous rains to come, they need to be protected (eg. against predation by birds and rodents).
The idea of the Seed Incubator and Coated Seeds is to bring the nursery to the field, meaning that seeds are prone to less abiotic stress, ie. experience less environmental stresses while germinating, ultimately resulting in higher survival rates.
The coating on the seeds protects them until the conditions for germination are optimal. Until that moment, seeds remain dormant, implying that ‘planting’/seeding window can be extended beyond the rainy season. Coatings further control and support germination and facilitate the mechanical handling of very fine seeds in particular.
All together the coated seeds simplify logistics, expand the scale of operations and reduce costs.
The seed incubator is the vessel that actually plants and protects the coated seeds from pests and other factors that make young trees vulnerable in the early stages. It also supports tree establishment by controlling weeds, reducing evaporation and trapping water. The seed incubator is a biodegradable, lightweight planting guard with coated seeds. It’s also lightweight and easy to transport.
By using these two pieces of technology, we can simplify logistics. Not only can we cut out 6-12 months of nursery preparation because seed storage is logistically much easier than raising a wide variety of species on nursery trays; but we also plant irrespective of weather conditions and plant a larger variety of species due to seed storage facilities, an essential factor for addressing biodiversity needs. Extending the planting window and using seed material also enables to scale and speed up much-needed reforestation efforts.