In the Raining Forests episode, the project earth team focuses on replanting vast forests with saplings. Instead of the normal traditional means with hands and shovels, the team plans to plant entire forests high above the ground in a helicopter. Being high above has its advantages, it is easier to disperse the fauna over a larger area in less time.
As forests are replanted, they absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide as the newly planted trees grow.
The Raining Forests episode of Project Earth premieres on August 29th at 9:00 pm EST on the Discovery Channel.
Update from the show: The Project Earth team tackles deforestation in Raining Rainforests. Current estimates say a forest the size of West Virginia is lost every year. In order to keep up with this trend, a forest twice the size of Manhattan must be replanted every day to be effective.
The team plans to test their replanting theory in the Mississippi delta. Recent hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, destroyed over 320 million trees by blowing them down or poisoning them with salt water.
Since Mangrove trees are native to the Mississippi delta, the Project Earth team will attempt to repopulate an island with Mangrove propagules.
Mangrove forests have decresed by 20% all over the world since the eighties, faster than rain forests. Mangroves are the most cost effective since they absorb a very large amount of carbon dioxide. Although, this design can be changed to accomodate any tree for any ecosystem.
The Project Earth team plans to drop propagules out from a plane. They estimate that a 4 foot spread pattern is needed if the propagules are to have optimum forest growing conditions.
It turned out that an airplane was too dangerous since the spread pattern was not optimal since the plane had to travel very slowly. The risk of the airplane stalling was too great so the team had to settle on using helicopters.
After a few tests to see how they would drop the propagules from the helicopters, the team decided to use large nets hanging below the helicopters. After the propagules were dropped from the helicopters, the project earth team would reconvene a the site three months later to see if any of the trees were still alive.
Even with all the effort and planning, the propagules were unable to take root after three months. The project earth team decided that their current ideas on this project will need some fine tuning since nothing was able to take root.
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