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Our planet is at a critical juncture, facing an ecological emergency of unprecedented scale. More than 2 million acres of forest are lost each year (and over the past 20 years) due to rampant deforestation caused by relentless industrialization, agriculture, and logging.
This is directly eroding global biodiversity, destabilizing environmental equilibrium, and increasing the disastrous effects of climate change. For example, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Zoological Laboratory, the most comprehensive index to date tracking the health of nature over 50 years, found that the average wild animal population was 69. It was found that % decreased. Worldwide from 1970 to 2018.
At the same time, an alarming trend has been observed where natural resources are being depleted much faster than they are being regenerated. Human activities have caused widespread degradation of habitats, resulting in biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and reduced carbon sequestration capacity. This growing imbalance poses a serious threat to the Earth's environmental stability. Traditional methods of restoring ecosystems, which are often time-consuming and labor-intensive, have proven inadequate to meet the diverse needs of our diverse environment. In the face of this urgent crisis, innovative and effective approaches to restoring Earth's ecosystems are desperately needed.
Therefore, in response to global imbalances in ecosystem restoration, Dendra Systems was founded in 2014 with a bold and ambitious mission at its core to accelerate ecosystem restoration on a global scale. . Stewart Emerson, marketing director at Dendra Systems, said: “We are committed to restoration, not just conservation. We are deeply committed to revitalizing our rich ecosystems.”
Stewart Emerson, Director of Marketing, Dendra Systems Source: Dendra Systems
Dendra is more than just a company. This is a movement dedicated to giving those on the front lines of landscape restoration the tools they need to make a tangible impact. Dendra has set her sights on restoring her 2 billion hectares of degraded land, which is scarring the planet, while facing difficult challenges. Rather than being satisfied with the simplicity of monocultures and plantations, Dendra Systems aims to breathe new life into diverse and biodiverse ecosystems, focusing on restoration rather than mere conservation. , its approach is far from traditional.
At the core of Dendra's breakthrough efforts is RestorationOS, a revolutionary restoration operating system. This unique technology embodies the company's vision, combining environmentally friendly best practices with the power of satellite and drone survey data, advanced machine learning, and drone-based aerial seeding. This marriage of technology and ecology has enabled Dendra to undertake restoration projects on an unprecedented scale, ranging from tens of thousands of hectares to eventually millions of hectares.
But Dendra's vision goes beyond just numbers. The company is committed to restoring the complex tapestry of biodiverse ecosystems, understanding that this is key to addressing the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss. Dendra is doing more than just changing the landscape by providing RestorationOS to environmental managers around the world. It will help address two of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time and reshape the future of our planet.
Dendra's use of drones represents a major advance in restoration efforts. With the ability to distribute 1.5 tons of seeds every day, these drones have revolutionized the scale of restoration. But according to Matthew Ritchie, CFO of Dendra Systems, automated planting is only 10% of the challenge. The most important aspect is the data and insights that are generated and used to support better decision-making, ultimately leading to better recovery outcomes.
Matthew Ritchie, CFO, Dendra Systems.Source: Dendra Systems
Dendra's journey began in Australia in 2017. Australia was a mature market with good regulation, a strong remediation market and a large pool of experienced environmental managers. The company quickly established itself as a major player in the Australian remediation market, expanding its customer base to 31 mine site customers. Since 2020, Dendra Systems has experienced impressive growth, expanding the scope of its projects from 100 hectares to 20,000 hectares. At the same time, the company has developed the largest repository of environmental images, enabling ultra-high resolution visualization of ecosystems on an unprecedented scale. “By combining remote sensing, ecology, and computer vision, we will quantify ecosystem health, risk, and restoration progress,” Emerson added.
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At the heart of RestorationOS is the concept that ecosystem restoration is a continuous cycle, involving the regular collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and subsequent actions. This process is conducted annually and allows monitoring of ecosystem health over time, ensuring accurate assessments and adjustments based on observed trends. This continuous data-driven approach is the foundation of Dendra's methodology in ecosystem restoration.
Dendra Systems understands that these collaborations are essential to tailoring solutions to the unique needs of specific ecosystems, and we highly value local partnerships to achieve scalable restoration. We place emphasis on A prime example of this approach is our recent partnership with Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) under the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative (ADMI).
Dendra Systems' project in Abu Dhabi is a groundbreaking initiative in the field of environmental remediation, demonstrating its innovative approach and the critical importance of mangrove ecosystems. Mangroves are known to be one of the most efficient ecosystems for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Its unique growth method and features allow it to store large amounts of organic carbon both in its biomass and in the surrounding soil, sequestering up to four times more carbon per hectare than other terrestrial ecosystems, including tropical rainforests. Masu.
This effort included the analysis of more than 150,000 hectares of coastal area with the aim of restoring mangrove forests. Detailed analysis was carried out on 20,000 hectares and 165 ideal restoration sites were identified in the first year. Then, using his custom drones, he planted mangroves in these locations at a rate of 100,000 trees per day. The project not only highlights the ecological importance of mangroves in blue carbon sequestration, but also because the value of blue carbon stored in mangrove ecosystems is estimated to be between $1,000 and $9,000 per hectare per year. It also highlights its economic potential. However, the mangrove recovery process is complex and difficult. This requires careful management of various factors throughout the restoration cycle, including site selection, cost, knowledge of mangrove ecology, and long-term monitoring and maintenance.
Source: Dendra Systems
However, Dendra's holistic approach is designed to ensure that these vital ecosystems are restored and protected for future generations, with plans to create 1 million mangroves over the next five years. That's what I'm aiming for. ADMI's broader initiative is to plant 100 million mangroves by 2030, said Ahmed Al Hashmi, EAD's executive director of terrestrial and marine biodiversity. Looking forward, Dendra Systems aims to scale recovery efforts to unprecedented levels. Dendra, who plans to restore 1.3 million hectares in five years and 10 million hectares in 10 years, needs a way to scale up. The company has raised a total of $27.1 million to date from a variety of investors, including VentureSouq, which focuses on startups that demonstrate strong commercial growth prospects with measurable positive environmental outcomes. I am.
As an avid investor in climate tech, VentureSouq was drawn to Dendra Systems in 2018. Motivated by its mission-driven approach and innovative solutions in ecosystem restoration.
VentureSouq's involvement goes beyond financial backing. VentureSouq will actively support Dendra Systems' scale and market expansion efforts and leverage its network to drive adoption and partnerships in the green space, particularly in the UAE and GCC region. This strategic support has benefited Dendra and his recent partnerships with EAD and ADQ. The last funding round in October 2023 and planned funding rounds in 2024 will help Dendra strengthen its growth in Australia and the United Arab Emirates, with data collection, machine learning, and 10,000 acres From 100,000 acres.
“Forty percent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) depends on natural capital (the environment),” Ritchie said. “When you start destroying natural landscapes, you end up hurting economic productivity.” So in a world where 40% of global GDP is intricately tied to natural capital, the degradation of natural landscapes is an environmental threat. Not only that, but it also poses a serious economic crisis. Dendra Systems recognizes this critical interdependence, positioning us to be more than just a pioneer in innovation for ecosystem restoration. Its mission is a clear call to action that emphasizes the urgent need to protect and restore our natural environment, both for ecological and economic stability.
By leading the way by combining technological prowess and ecological wisdom, Dendra Systems not only combats ecosystem degradation, but champions causes that support the very foundations of the world's economic productivity.
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This article was originally published on Lucidity Insights, Entrepreneur Middle East's partner in developing special reports on the technology and entrepreneurial ecosystems of the Middle East and Africa.
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