B.C. trio hopes to revolutionize tree planting industry

Flash Forest aims to plant a billion trees by 2028

“Seeing that immediate forest loss is what compelled us to do this.”

That’s what Cameron Jones said about the change in his home area of Kelowna Mountain Park in the last few years.

Jones is one of the co-founders of Flash Forest. The company’s CEO Bryce Jones also hails from Kelowna, in the upper Mission, and co-founder Angelique Ahlstrom is from Nelson.

The three started a reforestation company last year. They modify industrial drones and mount an autonomously-controlled firing device that shoots and lodges the seed pods into the soil.

Cameron said the pods are designed so the seeds have what they need for the first nine months. This helps the seeds to germinate and take root quickly.

So far, the company has planted eight tree species in southern Ontario.

“We’ve done white pine, white spruce, blue spruce, red maple, sugar maple, white birch and several others,” Bryce said.

He added they’re now doing tests on some of the most harvested and the most common tree species in Canada, including two Brazilian tree species.

The trio said the point of Flash Forest is to revolutionize tree planting.

“The main issue we’re trying to address right now is deforestation, and because of that, there are other problems we’re now trying to solve,” Ahlstrom said.

“There’s been a 60 per cent biodiversity loss in the last 50 years. Right now, there’s also only 15 per cent of the original forests in the world that are still intact. In addition, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate recommends one billion hectares of trees be planted to combat climate change.”

“And despite regeneration efforts, we’re still seeing a seven billion loss of trees every year. That’s why it’s very important that we do this quickly,” she added.

“I also want to emphasize that reforestation doesn’t use technology. It’s just people on the ground with bags and shovels. There hasn’t been technological development and advancements in this area,” Bryce said.

“However, deforestation has state of the art technology where they can autonomously cut down trees and it’s been a continuous development and highly refined technology. So we’re coming in to tip the scales, to bring technology into regeneration efforts.”

Flash Forest is now looking to partner with other companies and agencies to run pilot tests so they can bring their reforestation efforts to the rest of the country. Bryce said they’ve picked up international interest, but they want to start at home first.

“Right now, we’re in talks to get pilot projects in Alberta, B.C. and Ontario for next year,” he said. The group is also meeting with all levels of government to set up pilot projects, one of which will help the federal government meet its goal of planting two billion trees in the next ten years.

Currently, they’re fundraising to be able to buy more drones for planting and mapping soil conditions, and a pod automation machine so they can produce more pods.

“Our automation machine costs more than $10,000 and we’re entirely self-funded right now, so that’s why we have a Kickstarter. We’ve been getting a lot of support but anything that people can contribute will help a lot,” Cameron said.

To help Flash Forest fundraise, visit the Kickstarter page.

READ: A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

READ: B.C. forest ministry cutting back on use of herbicide glyphosate



twila.amato@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Alberni RCMP look for witnesses of daytime assault

A woman was assaulted while jogging in North Port

Racist incident shocks Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP looking for information

Federal government says no to relaxing log export rules

News comes after Steelworkers, Mosaic ask for ‘temporary relief’ on log export policy

Port Alberni residents gather to protest racism

Peaceful Drive By Protest planned for Thursday

San Group opens new sawmill in B.C.

It’s the first mill in 15 years to be built on west coast

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Most Read