Field with many devices
(Image credit: Nucleário ‘In the Field’ video)

Logging, ranching, and farming have destroyed vast areas of Brazilian rainforest. Replanting some of those regions could help slow global warming because trees absorb and store carbon.

But reforestation takes more than planting trees and walking away. Lack of water in the dry season, invasive grasses, and pests are likely to kill a seedling if it’s left unattended, and caring for seedlings can be time- and labor-intensive.

“I started looking into the problems of forest restoration and I realized that the biggest bottleneck was the seedling maintenance,” says Brazilian entrepreneur Bruno Rutman.

He and his brother Pedro have developed a device they call the Nucleário.

It’s a round unit that looks kind of like a Christmas tree stand. It captures, stores, and releases water to the seedling as needed. It also provides a barrier to protect the seedling from insects and grasses.

Rutman says that will help the seedlings grow without human maintenance.

The brothers are testing the Nucleário at reforestation sites in Brazil to see how well it supports various species’ survival.

If they can succeed and scale up, Rutman says it could help advance reforestation projects.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Molly Matthews Multedo

Fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, Molly Matthews Multedo is the founding director of Acquazul, a nonprofit that creates multilingual broadcast and digital media on social and environmental issues...