Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Pedro Adnet, Tom Adnet, Bruno Ferrari, Bruno Pagnoncelli, Pedro Pagnoncelli


Inspired by winged seeds, bromeliads, and forest leaf litter, Nucleário is a reforestation solution that is designed to be used in remote and hard-to-reach areas of the Atlantic rain forest.

1. What is the problem you’re trying to solve and how does your design help?

Traditional rain forest restoration approaches in remote areas are logistically complex and expensive, requiring manual work and periodic visits to the reforestation areas. Currently, 17 million hectares (14.2 million acres) of degraded areas are designated as potential lands for Atlantic forest restoration in Brazil. Inspired by nature, the Nucleário Planting System is an innovation for forest restoration in degraded and hard to reach areas, helping seedlings grow without requiring human maintenance. Made of biodegradable materials, it ensures that seedlings survive by providing a protection from leaf cutter ants, collecting water from rain and dew, offering shade, and protecting against invasive species. In the field, the Nucleário improves the working conditions of the planting teams and reduces costs at labor, transport, irrigation, fertilizers and insecticides.

2. What makes your design different than previous or current approaches to the problem you’re trying to solve?

The Nucleário design has been developed specifically for the use in the Atlantic rainforest in Brazil, so those biome particularities narrow the product functionalities to a unique solution. Nucleário has been designed to meet multiple functions including collecting rain and dew water, providing protection from leaf cutter ants and invasive species, supplying shade for the seedling, and deploying from the air. Applied in the field, the Nucleário Planting System makes the forest restoration process simpler and more cost-effective.

3. How did you apply lessons from living organisms to your design and what difference did that make?

We created the Nucleário design concept by studying the natural succession of the rainforest and seed dispersal strategies. Like the anemochory seeds, the Nucleário is structured to be weightless and incorporate air chambers, which allows it to act as both a glider and parachute and be able to be deployed from the air. Each Nucleário contains a functional group of species ready to germinate. Inspired by the bromeliad’s hydraulic specialization, the Nucleário trap shape accumulates dew and rain water and reduces evaporation, slowly hydrating the seedlings during the dry seasons. The water accumulation also attracts biodiversity. The Nucleário shape also emulates the leaf litter in a forest, stopping the Brachiaria grass growth around the seedling and protecting the soil against leaching and strong sunlight, which elevates the soil moisture and fertility.

Addresses Sustainable Development Goals: Climate Action (#13), Life On Land (#15).