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Trees and tech in Australia 

 

Land Life Company is committed to planting trees and using our technology to make the process as efficient and scalable as possible. What exactly does this mean? We spoke with one of our restoration ecologists and drone experts, Gautham Ramachandra, to explain how we will use technology to jumpstart our planting season this year in Australia on 115 hectares.

How would you describe Land Life Company’s approach with technology?

At Land Life Company we break down our approach and application of tech in 3 steps:

  1. Design phase: We create high resolution 3D models and maps for elevation and hydrology, as well as map out existing vegetation. This helps us to design the planting by determining what species go where and what densities are needed. We adapt to the lay of the land. 
  2. Planting phase: This involves using drones that help create the planting design, which uses GIS to define spacing and density for the different trees.
  3. Monitoring phase:  Once the trees are over a meter in height, we will fly the drone again and use machine learning algorithms to detect the locations of each tree. Once this is complete, we follow up with monitoring and adapt our algorithms on growth and health of the trees. 

How will we specifically use technology in Australia?  

We will deploy our tech in the same fashion as we do at our other sites, however, each location has its own set of characteristics that we consider and adapt to for planting. Our Australia site is quite heterogeneous, meaning it has patches of rocky formations, a creek that runs through it, several small ponds and areas with gullies. 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we have been unable to visit the site to carry out our normal preparations, so we had to conduct most of our design process remotely, including the soil sampling. A drone was flown by our partner in Australia, and we were able to complete the processing here in Amsterdam! We are now completing soil mapping, and we will use this to stratify the land based on the soil characteristics. This helps us understand what species to plant and where to plant them — all of which contributes to the final planting design. 

What else is unique to how tech will be used in Australia? 

This site is particularly degraded due to overgrazing and deforestation, so we’re using drones to map out areas that are prone to erosion, which allows us to mitigate the effects of degradation. We are also experimenting with different planting techniques, such as direct seeding, so we will have new data on plant performance and site characteristics. Later, we will be able to train our algorithms on the new datasets and use it for future plantings.

Technology enhances what we do at Land Life Company, and it helps us to develop and improve our methods. Keep reading our blog for future tech and planting updates on Australia and other plantings!