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Digital Tree-Planting Operations

Robotics, blockchain, and mobile applications are digital technologies developed to boost tree-planting activities and tackle environmental degradation. These digital practices also often offer carbon-offset services to individuals, companies, and investors, while structuring new green markets that promise to transform restoration agreements into local actions.

At the same time, these technologies raise questions about how the restoration of ecosystems can create meaningful local livelihood opportunities and the distribution of benefits.


iPlantForest proposes to use blockchain operations to track and report where and how restoration actions occur. Users around the world will be able to purchase tree-planting services through a cryptocurrency token named ReforestCoin. The platform promises to develop a transparent system through databases that monitor and report how restoration projects progress at the local level. iPlantForest is made up of several companies, including Mahogany Roraima which is developing the forest bot.

Screenshot of the iPlantforest’s code of conduct. Image source: iPlantforest. Retrieved 24 June 2022, from https://iplantforest.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Code-of-Conduct-iPlantForest-2020.pdf

Forest Bot

Graphic rendering of the Real Carbon Capture Machine (RCCM), an automated tree planting machine. Image source: Mahogany Roraima [image]. Retrieved 27 July 2022, from https://mahoganyroraima.com.br/real-carbon-capture-machine/

The Forest Bots are autonomous robotic machines designed by the Brazilian company Mahogany Roraima that undertake forest management practices without human interference. The Real Carbon Capture Machine (RCCM) currently in development aims towards a self-driving system with GPS guidance, automated processes of planting, watering, fertilising, and monitoring, AI and 3D-imaging for forest inventory and analysis and recording of all actions in a cloud-based database accessible to partners and investors. Since 2016, the company has been investing in prototypes that aim to plant 100 hectares of forest in only 4 hours. The current prototype forest planting machine is tractor-operated and has the theoretical capacity to plant approximately 3,600 seedlings or 12 hectares per hour.

See the original article clicking here.


Could a tree-planting machine help save the environment?

A Brazilian inventor has designed what he claims is the world’s fastest tree planting machine. Originally intended for lucrative monoculture hardwood plantations, the current, third-generation version is able to plant multiple species using GPS, camera technologies and artificial intelligence. A fourth generation planter will offer full-reforesting capabilities at extraordinary speed, with a huge upside for the environment.

See the original article clicking here.


Trillion Trees Challenge

It is with great satisfaction that we registered to participate in the “Trillion Trees Challenge”.

We register our creation, the Forest Planting Machine. We call our machine RCCM – Real Carbon Capture Machine, since it plants trees, and tree is the most effective way to capture carbon from the atmosphere.

Follow our project during the stages of analysis by the trillion trees challenge committee by clicking here.

We are confident with our participation as our RCCM plants up to 86,400 tree seedlings per day. Our machine is the fastest and most efficient way to plant forests (multiple species) today.

Get to know the event by clicking here.

RCCM f3.0 subsoils, manures and plants non-stop. It can be replenished during planting. Maximum plant of 3,600 seedlings / hour.

It transports 1.2 tons of fertilizer and manures during planting.

The operator can adjust the planting distance between the seedlings during planting. You don’t need to stop the machine to change the spacing between the seedlings. The spacing can be adjusted in meters, 3 meters, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 meters, according to the operator’s choice.

The machine can be operated by only 1 person. The person responsible for planting can organize the planting in 6-hour shifts, to plant 24 hours non-stop.

The machine plants multiple native or exotic species or a single species.

The machine has a sophisticated system connected to the cloud (transfers the data to the cloud when it locates a wifi network) that stores the data of each seedling planted: the species, the GPS position, the quality of the planting with inclination of the collection, sinking of the collection, alignment of the substrate with the soil, data that will be used to analyze the quality of planting and later to be able to: water, fertilize seedlings, combat pests, combat ants, make forest inventory or do forest health analysis, all knowing exactly where each seedling was planted with its GPS position.

Challenge timeline

  • 22 March 2021 to 23 April 2021: open call for submissions
  • 26 April 2021 to 11 June 2021: review and selection process
  • Mid-June: selected submissions will be announced at a launch event around World Day to combat Desertification and Drought
  • July 2021 to October 2021: cohort programme to scale and advance impact

Watch the video announcing the contest

You can also consult the initiative’s website: https://www.1t.org/

Follow the event on social media: https://www.instagram.com/1t_org/

Follow all about our forest planting machine: https://www.instagram.com/forest.bot/


Important Warning

Mahogany Roraima has no sales representative authorized to trade any type of investment on our behalf. We are denouncing, and taking appropriate legal action, those who claim to be our representatives and who attempt to sell illegal investment plans without our permission or consent.

If you would like to contact us, please use our contact form on this site.

finacial times-mahogany-roraima

Financial Times: Can Technology Help Save The Amazon?

This is a reprint from a Financial Times report.

While deforestation has surged under Bolsonaro, scientists are racing to find ways to conserve the rainforest

Bryan Harris in Boa Vista, Roraima, Andres Schipani in Altamira, Pará, and Anna Gross in Tailândia,Pará


Smoke still billowed above the Amazonian canopy as Jaime Sales clambered atop a 3-metre-high stack of razed trees. “Victory,” he exclaimed, letting his shotgun drop loose and surveying the battered forest around him.
At the vanguard of a small team of armed environmental enforcers, the corporal with Pará’s environmental military police unit had ventured deep into the jungle near Altamira in the northern Brazilian state, which has been the site of persistent conflict over deforestation.

His reward was the seizure of the massive illegal timber bounty — a haul he estimated to be worth “millions” of dollars on the black market, most likely in China, the US or Europe, say experts.

“Today was a good day, but these environmental crimes never stop. There is a lot of deforestation,”he says, adding that “the pressure is now on” from loggers, crooked ranchers and wildcat gold miners.

Such successes for Brazil’s environmental authorities have been few and far between. Since the election last year of the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who is a keen advocate of opening up the Amazon to commercial interests, these groups have been chopping down and setting fire to trees with gusto.

Although far from a record, the trends this year have been alarming: figures released this week showed that the rate of deforestation last month was 222 per cent higher than the same month last year. By some estimates, a football field worth of forest is razed every minute.

“There has been no enforcement since the election of Bolsonaro, and now the forest is paying the price,” says one ranger with Brazil’s national park service in the western state of Acre.“Some people are burning the forest because they know no one is going to fight them.”

Mr Bolsonaro and many of his allies see the rainforest as a natural resource that should be exploited — especially in a country which still has so many people living in or near poverty. They view international concern about the Amazon as an ill-disguised effort to hold back Brazil’s development by rich countries which have already trashed much of their own natural habitats.

But the global furore over Mr Bolsonaro’s approach to the Amazon has also given oxygen to a very different view of how to manage the rainforest. It has focused attention on the disparate community of scientists, businesspeople and activists who believe that technological advances could be the key to promoting sustainable development and tackling deforestation.

For them, the key to sidelining the Amazon’s more nefarious actors is to show that the conservation of land can be both economically profitable and environmentally valuable. They see the Amazon as the world’s largest repository of biodiversity and the potential foundation of a multitrillion dollar bio-economy, if scientists have the chance to map and harness the genetic codes of its diverse wildlife.

The argument about sustainability has been running for the three decades since the fate of the Amazon last became a global issue, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But for many of these scientists, there is a new generation of tools, from genomic sequencing to satellite-tracked reforestation, that can be harnessed to help save the Amazon, an ecosystem that underpins weather patterns across the continent

“What if we can map and sequence 100 per cent of complex life on the planet? We will unlock a gigantic amount of new innovations and new industries that we can’t even dream of imagining,” says Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, chairman of Brazil-based Space Time Ventures, a technology company that works on biomass, energy and water risks. “This is what we call a new bio-economy.”

The stakes are much higher now. Some scientists fear the world’s largest rainforest, which plays a vital role in absorbing carbon dioxide emissions and keeping a lid on rising global temperatures, could be approaching a “tipping point”, past which it will not have enough trees to maintain its water-recycling ecosystem.

So far, some 17 per cent of the rainforest has been razed. Until recently, scientists believed that the tipping point would arrive when 40 per cent of the Amazon had been destroyed. But Tom Lovejoy of George Mason University and Carlos Nobre at World Resources Institute-Brazil now believe the scales could start to tip when just 20-25 per cent of the rainforest has disappeared.

In an airy, open-plan office in a quiet suburb of São Paulo, Mr Castilla-Rubio has assembled some of Brazil’s brightest minds, including AI researchers, big data experts and biochemists. They are motivated by the same concern — applying new technological advances to the defence of the rainforest and other threatened areas of Brazil.

“Given the physics involved and what we see in terms of action around the world, I’m afraid there will be runaway climate change leading to catastrophes like major crop failures, water scarcity and social unrest,” says Mr Castilla-Rubio. “You can’t predict when or where it will hit the worst, but the signs are all in the same direction, which is irreversibility.”

Central to his group’s activities is the use of big data and satellites to help farmers improve the output of their land and reduce the need to expand their boundaries into protected rainforest. One such project involves using satellites to pinpoint and classify particular types of weeds, which can then be targeted in surgical strikes by herbicide-wielding autonomous drones.

“If you know precisely where and what the weeds are, you can use one 30th the input of herbicides. That means you pollute just one 30th of what you would have before,” he says.

Similar technologies are now being adapted across Brazil by farmers who are conscious both of environmental sensitivities and the importance of making farms more efficient and resilient to increasingly extreme weather.

“The point is we know we have to preserve. Everyone knows this. Farmers know this. We know we don’t have more earth to open,” says Edwin Montengro, a macadamia nut farmer, who is using biofertilisation techniques to improve the quality of his soil and crops.

Scientists are aiming to go beyond improving the sustainability of agriculture in the region. Potentially more game-changing are plans to map and sequence the genomic codes of the Amazon’s bountiful wildlife.

Although considered the most biodiverse ecosystem on the planet, less than 1 per cent of the DNA of the complex life in the jungle has been fully sequenced by scientists. Mr Castilla-Rubio, a Cambridge-educated biochemist, believes such an endeavour would open up vast economic opportunities once the results were transferred to industry.

“We have thus far only sequenced 0.28 per cent of complex life on the planet,” he says. “But knowledge of that 0.28 per cent was the basis for multiple industries — pharmaceuticals, chemicals, materials, fuels — and has resulted in annual sales of at least $4tn.”

For conservationists, one of the most promising options is to reforest lands that have been illegally razed — a strategy that has been hailed as one of the “most effective” for mitigating climate change, a team of European environmental scientists wrote in the journal Science in July.

The process, however, is time-consuming, expensive and often futile.

“Planting a forest is very complicated work. It is like a life system, an entire body. You have to make sure the heart, the stomach, everything is in the right position. To build an artificial body requires a lot of study,” says Marcello Guimarães, chairman of Mahogany Roraima, a commercial timber and reforestation plantation in the northern Amazon.

Each tree has to be planted in consideration not only of the sun and the shade, but also other trees, which can interfere with growth. Similarly, planting a single type of tree increases the risk of disease, so a careful mix of species needs to be arranged. This typically needs to be done by expert arborists, of whom there are few in the Amazon.

In addition, some species, such as eucalyptus, grow easily and quickly but they do not provide a habitat for biodiversity to flourish — they become a “dead zone”, says Mr Guimarães.

Once planning is complete, the reforestation process then needs to be implemented at scale. Under the terms of the Paris climate accord, Brazil has pledged to reforest 12m hectares by 2030 — a long shot at current rates.

“Reforestation has unique challenges of its own. What is the right type of tree, what was the native species, are there nurseries and seed banks? A lot goes into how you make sure you grow healthy forests that increase biodiversity,” says Duncan van Bergen, vice-president for nature-based solutions at Royal Dutch Shell, the oil group.

Mr Guimarães believes the solution has to involve convincing landowners and farmers that there is a clear economic benefit from adopting new technologies. Using satellites to monitor his plots and autonomous planting machines, the businessman from the northern state of Roraima aims to increase planting from 200 hectares a day to 100 hectares an hour.

Of his timber plantations, only 20 per cent can be used for commercial purposes while 80 per cent are kept as reforested land in accordance with Brazilian regulations.

“The main point for us is we are trying to develop a commercial business, but the reforestation is very important to this process,” says Mr Guimarães. “If we can develop this as a business, we can [compete] with the deforesters.”

The idea of creating an economic incentive is one shared with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation, a non-profit group that seeks to empower local communities by providing opportunities in the production chains of cocao, nuts and fisheries.

“We get changes by making people realise they can improve their livelihoods by the sustainable use of resources,” says Virgilio Viana, chief executive of the foundation, pointing to a 60 per cent reduction in deforestation in the areas in which they work.

Mr Viana worries that the encouraging signals being sent from Mr Bolsonaro to illegal loggers make the work of non-profit groups more difficult. The president has publicly attacked Ibama, the environmental agency, and even accused NGOs of being behind some of the fires in the Amazon region. “If the cost of illegality is reduced, it makes sustainable development less competitive,” he says. “It shifts the economic balance.”

The non-profit group also has concerns about financing. The organisation is a primary beneficiary of the Amazon Fund, a multimillion-dollar conservation scheme supported by Norway and Germany. As deforestation in Brazil spiked this year, Berlin and Oslo suspended funding, triggering a diplomatic spat with Europe, which has since been exacerbated by the Amazonian fires.

Luiz Carlos Lima, a federal public prosecutor in Roraima, an Amazonian state next to Venezuela, is optimistic that the situation in Brazil will improve as citizens become more aware of environmental crime and the risks of climate change.

“Brazil is a teenager right now. Europe is an old man,” he says. “Teenagers don’t respect the law.”

See the original article clicking here.


Noble wood, African mahogany becomes long-term investment with good returns

Cultivation is uncomplicated and wood can be cut without the need for authorization, says the association.

A crop that takes 20 years. And there is a farmer investing in it: it is African mahogany, which also produces in Brazil, in the savannas of Roraima and in the cerrado of Minas Gerais.

African mahogany is noble wood, a relative of Brazilian mahogany, which has limited planting and cutting as it is on the list of endangered species. Currently, the cutting of Brazil’s natural tree is allowed only by companies with certification and a management plan.

The planting of African mahogany comes to supply the demand for reclaimed wood, and has an advantage for not suffering from cutting restrictions and having good productivity.

At Ricardo Tavares plantation, in Minas Gerais, there are 500 hectares of African mahogany. He is one of the pioneers in planting the tree in Brazil and dedicated part of the area to a collection of 17 species, trying to demonstrate why he chose African mahogany in relation to Australian cedar, neem, ipe, jatoba, teak and Brazilian mahogany.

“Here it is clearly demonstrated that African mahogany has developed much more than the other wood species we plant here,” says Tavares.

Most of the African mahogany planting in Brazil today is between 5 and 10 years old. The tree grows to about 15 meters in height and then develops to the sides. Until it reaches an ideal measure for cutting: the tree should be around 1.5 meters in circumference.

When it comes to management, it is essential to define the spacing between the seedlings, one of the first decisions that the producer needs to take when implementing a forest area. It is this spacing that will define, in the future, the age of the cut and the volume of wood per hectare.

According to Tavares, a project like this, which takes 20 years to complete, costs around R $ 70,000 per hectare. He believes that in this plantation he will get 400 cubic meters of log per hectare – with the log price at US $ 400, the yield would be around US $ 160 thousand per hectare, which currently gives about R $ 800 thousand.

Pending the long-term return on this investment, Tavares maintains other crops, such as a coffee plantation.

Investment and management

Although time consuming, growing African mahogany is uncomplicated and can bring high yields. The wood can be cut without the need for authorization.

Despite this, financing for the forest’s initial investment can be complicated, as there are no specific credit lines in banks for this crop.

“The time he gets there [at the bank] and says, ‘look, my culture needs 18 years of financing’, there is a scare,” explains Patrícia Fonseca, director of the Brazilian Association of African Mahogany Producers. “The Brazilian financial institution is not used to this and does not like to take risks”.

Planting mahogany is considered simple. At the Boa Esperança farm in Minas Gerais, cultivation was carried out without irrigation, which reduces costs. “The implantation is R $ 6,500 per hectare. The strategy is to plant 25 hectares per year in a perpetual way. As it arrives at the time of the final harvest, we would close this cycle and replant 25 hectares there ”, explains agronomist Paulo Sabonge.

One of the few problems in planting, in terms of pests, is the borer. But trees are able to protect themselves by expelling a resin that protects the wood. According to the agronomist, the only strong control that is needed is that of ants.

Plantation in Roraima

The first African mahogany cultivation in Roraima is by the brothers Marcello and Eduardo Guimarães. Cariocas, they come from the technology area, but decided to invest in the field.

They have an area of ​​2 thousand hectares on the farm, totaling 1.8 million trees. The chosen area was a more arid region of the Amazon, very close to the state capital, Boa Vista, called in the lavrado region.

“We are in an area of ​​savannah, which is very similar to the savannah of the Central Plateau. These soils are chemically very poor, they are soils with low natural fertility ”, explains agronomist José Frutuoso do Vale Júnior, who is a specialist in soils and accompanied the implementation of the forest.

The region’s soil had to be built: first with a consortium of legumes and then some grass species, to increase the amount of organic matter. In addition, they needed to find a way to break seed dormancy and therefore invested in seedling nurseries.

The chosen species was Khaya Senegalensis, according to Marcello Guimarães is the one that best adapted to the region. “The condition here is very different. A lot of wind during a very big time, a very strong drought and, suddenly, a rain, which is a monsoon rain, it seems that the world is going to collapse ”, he says. “You have to adapt or the plant cannot resist”.

The brothers’ farm works with a partner, Anderson Gibbert, from Paraná, who bought land in Roraima at a low cost. Planting takes place on his land and this generates forest replacement credits, which can be sold to companies in the region that have unduly deforested and need regularization with environmental agencies.

The sale of credits helps in the beginning of planting. The landowner gets 20% of the income. “We receive, right after planting, in the range of R $ 1,200 per hectare in credit”, says Gibbert.

The proper cuts are expected at 6 years, 9 years and 12. The final cut is expected to be made after 17 years after implantation.

The farm has 27 employees working to sow seeds – 15 of them are Venezuelans. With the coronavirus crisis, the activity in the nurseries that prepare the seedlings was stopped for a month, but has already started again, with care such as distance and the use of a mask. No one was fired during the period.

Technology to accompany and plant

To accompany the growth of the trees, the brothers invested in a satellite monitoring system, which allows viewing on a tablet or smartphone.

A machine was also developed on the farm to plant 3,600 seedlings per hour. The machine removes the seeds from the tube and aligns the implantation on the ground, informing the system with GPS location capture. This allows for an inventory of each tree to make management plans and inform environmental agencies.

So far, R $ 12 million have been invested in the project. The mahogany that was planted in 2001, in an area of ​​18 hectares, and extracted now, is valued at R $ 2,600 per cubic meter. If you let the wood dry, the price triples.

The risk of fire and the future of the forest

In the plantation in Roraima, the greatest risk is fire, sometimes caused in a criminal manner.

To avoid the problem, producers test the agroforestry technique, which consists of a consortium of mahogany trees with manioc, bananas and other productive species. Agroforestry demands more constant work, so it reduces the risk of fire because there are people more frequently in the area.

The idea also benefits animals that live further away. Biologist Eliza Costa has studied the fauna of the region for two years and has already noticed the changes.

“We already found jaguar footprints, we found armadillos, giant anteaters,” she says, reiterating that this would be a lower plantation area, but that it has more life because of agroforestry.

For the brothers, the initial goal, to plant 40,000 hectares of mahogany in 10 years, is changing. They now want more diversity: combining mahogany with local trees such as jatobá, ipe, fig tree or taperebá. Mahogany grows and undergoes thinning, while native trees would be used to generate income from bioextracts, materials that can be used in laboratories and in the medicine industry.

In this way, producers are hopeful that African mahogany can be used to preserve Brazilian trees, taking some of the pressure off the Amazon today.

See the original article (in brazilian portuguese) clicking here.