Nucleário: Biodegradable seed planter that could help advance reforestation projects in Brazil and beyond

Brazilian company Nucleário has created a biodegradable seed planter – mimicing some of the features of a tropical rainforest’s own species to help saplings grow – offering a faster and more sustainable way to replant tropical rainforests.

The biodegradable seed planter helps seedlings to grow by capturing, storing, and releasing water to the seedling as needed. It also provides a barrier to protect the seedling from insects and grasses. Nucleário seed planters, which are dropped from a helicopter or drone, reforestation can be done without human maintenance.

Traditionally forest restoration is expensive, requiring intensive labour to be successful. To assure seedling survival, post-planting maintenance is required quarterly for at least 3 years – this includes irrigation, controlling leaf-cutter ants and removing invasive grass. Skilled field workers must complete this maintenance, but these workers are in short supply as the work is onerous and dangerous.

The biodegradable seed planters are currently being tested at reforestation sites in Brazil to see how well it supports various species’ survival.

Brazil provides a special home to Earth’s biodiversity. Ranking first amongst the 18 megadiverse countries, Brazil hosts between 15-20% of the world’s biological diversity, with the greatest number of endemic species on a global scale.

Brazil’s vast natural wealth is under threat as forests are burned and cleared to support logging, livestock, and monocultures. Replanting some of those regions could help slow global warming given that trees absorb and store carbon.

Nucleário is the brainchild of Brazilian brothers Bruno and Pedro Rutman Pagnocelli, who created the biomimicry system specifically to facilitate post-planting maintenance in reforestation projects.

Bruno Rutman Pagnocelli, Nucleário CEO, said: “I started looking into the problems of forest restoration and I realised that the biggest bottleneck was the seedling maintenance.

“Nucleário’s purpose is to create innovations that will help restore native forests. Our product acts as a multiplier effect, addressing the bottleneck of post-planting maintenance and allowing field workers to plant more seedlings in less time.”

Lack of water in the dry season, invasive grasses, and pests are likely to kill a seedling in a rainforest if it’s left unattended. But Nucleário aim to fix that. During drought periods, the Nucleário seed planter provides controlled release of rainwater, ensuring a greater resilience for forest restorations, especially in locations with high incidence of solar radiation.

The use of Nucleário’s products in the field increases the chance of survival of the seedlings and decreases the use of insecticides and controls weeds, according to Nucleário.

It is understood that if the pilot projects where Nucleário is being trialled are successful and can be scaled up, it could help advance reforestation projects.

Nucleário

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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