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

Racist incidents on the rise in the Okanagan as coronavirus spreads

UBCO professor not surprised by recent incidents

Pecha Kucha speaker series returns to Cannery Brewing

The speakers will share character building experiences to begin Pecha Kucha’s sixth year in Penticton

Penticton Vees forward O’Brien named first team BCHL all-star

O’Brien finished the season tied for fourth in leauge scoring with 66 points in 46 games.

Man accused of attacking Penticton doctor has charges dropped by Crown

Charges against Gregory Nield for alleged attack on a psychiatrist at PRH stayed by Crown

RCMP and Upper Dek Vees tie in community hockey rematch

$1,175 for the Upper Dek Vees and Penticton Alzheimer Society was raised at the game.

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Fire crews battle large blaze in West Kelowna

Reports of multiple structures on fire in the Colleen Road area

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Kelowna man charged after naked driver leads RCMP on hit-and-run spree

A Kelowna man has been charged with numerous offences

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Most Read