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How Can Drones Be Used to Help the Environment?

Over the past few decades, the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar has seen some of the worst deforestation on the planet. Even as villagers try to replace what has been lost, they face an enormous uphill battle. That's where modern technology can step in. As part of a project that began in 2012, the nonprofit Worldview International Foundation is employing an army of drones to help plant approximately one billion trees in Myanmar. The drones, developed by a startup known as Biocarbon Engineering, first scout out an area of land in order to determine the best seed-planting strategy. Then, they are loaded with germinated seeds and nutrients that they can fire into the ground from the sky, covering large areas in a fraction of the time it would take humans to do the same task. According to Worldview, two human operators controlling 10 drones can plant as many as 400,000 trees every day. The reforestation work is expected to create employment opportunities, provide carbon offsets, and ensure storm barriers for the villages that dot Myanmar's landscape.

A look inside Myanmar:

  • Myanmar joins the United States and Liberia as the only non-metric nations on Earth.
  • 90 percent of the Earth's rubies -- the rarest of gemstones -- come from Myanmar.
  • Restaurant customers in Myanmar make kissing sounds -- usually two of them -- to get a server's attention.
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