That sounds like science fiction. Now let's go back to carbon farms. What are they, after all, and what is going on there? What exactly are drones and satellites to do with it?
If you decide to provide a service to absorb carbon, to count carbon, and get paid for it, you need a place to grow trees. If you have such a place, it means that you have a site for a carbon farm.
Trees on the site can vary in species and age. Soils can also be heterogeneous, changes can also occur in the hydrological regime of water bodies. Therefore, the first thing that is done on a carbon farm is a thorough assessment (determining the number of tree stands, timber volume, amount of trees, etc., as well as the trees recruitment. – ed. note), in other words, taking an inventory. On the basis of the data obtained, the standard area of the forest is selected. The scientists, our German partners from the University of Göttingen, measure literally every tree, every bush in the area, take soil samples, examine the fall of needles and leaves, in this way they determine the turnover of carbon on the Earth.
At the same time, we receive satellite imagery, while drones with special hyperspectral cameras fly over the forest and take spectral profiles. The information obtained from these three sources (space imagery, airborne surveys, and ground measurements) is processed by a large computer program that searches for correlations between them. In addition to surveys and measurement counts, the point is to get away from labor-consuming and time-consuming on-ground surveys as quickly as possible. Satellites and drones and artificial intelligence should replace the hard work on the ground. At our carbon farm, these technologies are being fine-tuned right now.
The economics of the sequestration business is built using a simple formula: if you absorb 5 tonnes of CO₂ per hectare – you get $200 from this hectare. If you have a million hectares, you can make profit of $200 million. Let me remind you that Russia has millions of square kilometers of forest lands, which means that profit for our country could reach tens of billions of US dollars, or even hundreds of billions.