Grant Canary’s wildfire recovery startup reborn as biodiversity gets hot

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(David Callaway is founder and Editor-in-Chief of Callaway Climate Insights. He is the former president of the World Editors Forum, Editor-in-Chief of USA Today and MarketWatch, and CEO of TheStreet Inc. His climate columns have appeared in USA Today, The Independent, and New Thinking magazine).

SAN FRANCISCO (Callaway Climate Insights) — Grant Canary’s startup launched seven years ago with a novel, high-tech idea — use drones to reseed forest land lost to wildfires. His company, then called DroneSeed, was the first to get permission from federal aviation authorities to use its eight-foot diameter drones to fly around the U.S. West spreading seed on fire-scorched land.

A few years ago, however, Canary and his investors realized they had a problem. As wildfires proliferated in California and other states, there wasn’t enough seed to go around. So like any good entrepreneurs, they switched tack. In March, DroneSeed became Mast Reforestation. And to celebrate, the Seattle-based company purchased one of California’s largest reforesting seed companies, Cal Forest Nurseries.

“We realized we were offering a much bigger service than the original name — which is still a product line — entailed,” Canary said in an interview last week with Callaway Climate Insights, adding that the company’s small army of drones has been temporarily grounded. “We will absolutely use them again, but first we have to build up the seed supply.”…

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