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

Maple Ridge’s Brandon Yip to play in KHL all star game in Moscow Sunday morning

Yip currently captains the Kunlun Red Stars who are based in Beijing

The value of a prison education

Kevin Heinze teaches continuing education at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge.

Along the Fraser: RIP Parker (1991-2019)

The Canadian Liver Foundation raises funds by recycling or scrapping old vehicles.

Letter: Allen Way rail crossing proposed in 1980

Pitt Meadows mayor at time wanted it at north Bonson.

Maple Ridge group gives back to northern places

Teaching how to grow in isolated First Nations reserves

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

VIDEO: Highway 1 left looking like winter war zone with dozens of stranded vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Most Read