This is it, a couple of optimizations, a seedpod that can be fired from the air to penetrate the ground, a drone that can follow a set pattern and preprocessing that can optimize the planting pattern. This system can plant 100.000 trees per day. It will only work in areas with suitable soil, and it won’t protect the young growth from bark eating animals. But it is definitely the way to go.
Seedbombs are Thailands idea of reforestation, trees are very resilient and strong when germinating, so you really only need to plant them for many of them to take root. Try it with an apple some time, most apple seed in your apple will become tiny stems.
Droneseed is a company that aims to automate treeplanting after wildfires. This is a growing problem as temperatures increase.
There are huge tree planting operations underway (like this one in Australia), but we need to plant much more. We don’t know the marginal cost of running a tree planting operation, so that it becomes extraeconomical, meaning it sustains itself without any interaction (or sale of wood) to the wider economy.
One of the successfull strategies to revitalize degrated land in practice since the 80’s are so called Demi-Lunes, which is french for half-moons. This simple solution is to dig a half circle with the straight side towards the top of the slope of the land, so that rainwater collects into the pit and sinks into the ground, this is a technique similar to countour trenching (see Peter Westerveld). The principle problem in general is that the top soil compacts and water doesn’t permeate. It takes quite a lot of energy to break it up again. Demi-Lunes that collect water are a lot like bomb craters, except they hare half circular. It is imaginable that with a certain bombing pattern it is possible to create them quicker and in larger numbers than with human labour. If a machine can be developed that is solar powered which only moves around the land creating demi-lune after demi-lune, this would be a great investment.
The video shows that the land between the demi-lunes is still dry and barren, it should be a follow up action to create connecting trenches, simply to break the top soil. When trees are planted in this way they will thrive, and the higher the tree, the more wind they break and shade they provide.
In general it keeps popping up that our Earth doesn’t by spontaneous process become ideal for plants to thrive, even though all chemical constituents are present (at least some of the time).