The solar-powered robot is capable of seeding 600 trees in a single morning and could drastically boost reforestation efforts in the region.
Conservationists working in the Peruvian Amazon have a new hi-tech tool at their disposal in the battle against deforestation in the region.
"The miners, the loggers... they have advanced technology. They can destroy so much," said Junglekeepers vice-president, Juan Julio Durand Torres, who is a former illegal miner and logger-turned conservationist.
"If we have a robot here to help plant trees and local people can be involved and learn the technology, it'll be like pretty much battling together," Torres added.
ABB provided the conservation group with their dual arm, solar-powered ‘YuMi’ robot, which was designed initially to bring automation to a variety of industries.
The robot is connected to a base in Sweden, 12,000km away via solar satellite wifi.
"Based on our run time with this robot and what we've learned from working with the ABB people, we can plant up to 600 trees in a morning,” Mohsin Kazmi, the CEO of Junglekeepers, explained.
“What that basically would amount to is two soccer fields every day if we could plant them out into areas for reforestation," he added.
For the pilot project, Junglekeepers transported the robot up the Las Piedras River to their base located deep in the Peruvian jungle in the region known as “Madre de Dios”.
According to Kamzi, the addition of the robot has freed up conservationists’ time spent in the nurseries, allowing them to focus on other tasks for the implementation of the reforestation project as a whole.
"The robot is able to remove soil and plant seeds all in one box, 16 at a time. And then we take that box and put it into our nursery for it to germinate," he said.
The group is now investigating whether they can put the system in place at a larger scale in other Amazon communities.
"The Amazon is in danger. But that's why (with) the technology, the science and local knowledge, we have to work together in order to save the Amazon," said Peru’s leading expert on the rainforest, Dennis del Castillo Torres, programme director at the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP).
Protecting the Amazon rainforest, which is home to hundreds of indigenous groups, is considered key to the fight against climate change because of the vast amounts of carbon dioxide it absorbs from the atmosphere.
The Amazon is the world's largest rainforest, and Peru has the second largest section of the Amazon after Brazil.
Government data from Brazil shows that about three footballfields’ worth of virgin forest was cleared every minute in 2022.
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