The solar-powered robot is capable of planting 600 trees in a single morning and could greatly boost reforestation efforts in the region.
Conservationists working in the Peruvian Amazon have a new high-tech tool in the fight against deforestation in the region.
Junglekeepers International, a non-profit organization, has joined hands with Swiss-Swedish robotics company ABB to run a pilot project using seed-planting robots in the rainforest.
“Miners, loggers… they have advanced technology. They can destroy so much,” said Juan Julio Durand Torres, vice president of the forest, who is a former illegal miner and logger-turned-conservationist.
“If we have a robot here to help us plant trees and local people can get involved and learn the techniques, it will be like fighting together,” Torres said.
ABB provided Conservation Group with their dual-armed, solar-powered ‘YuMi’ robot, which was initially designed to bring automation to various industries.
The robotic solar satellite is connected via WiFi to a base in Sweden, 12,000 km away.
“Based on our walk time with this robot and what we’ve learned from working with the people at ABB, we can plant up to 600 trees in one morning,” explained Mohsin Kazmi, CEO of Junglekeepers.
“If we can plant them in areas prone to deforestation, that’s basically two football fields every day,” he said.
For the pilot project, forest rangers led the robot to the Las Piedras River, a stream known as the “Madre de Dios” in the Peruvian jungle.
According to Kamji, the addition of the robot has freed up the time conservationists spend in the nursery, allowing them to focus on other tasks for the implementation of the reforestation project as a whole.
“The robot is able to remove the soil and plant 16 seeds at a time in a box. And then we take that box and put it in our nursery to germinate,” he said.
The group is now investigating whether they can scale up the system to other Amazon communities.
“The Amazon is in danger. But that’s why (with technology, science and local knowledge) we have to work together to save the Amazon,” said Denis del Castillo Torres, program director, Peru’s leading expert on the rainforest. at the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP).
Protecting the Amazon rainforest, which is home to hundreds of indigenous groups, is considered vital to the fight against climate change because of the vast amount of carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere.
The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, and Peru has the second largest section of the Amazon after Brazil.
Brazilian government figures show that in 2022 nearly three football fields worth of virgin forest was cleared every minute.