Showing posts with label Forestry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forestry. Show all posts

Monday, 1 June 2015

Giant Tree Sculpture Cast from the Trunk of a 140-Year-Old Hemlock

Recently unveiled at the MadArt space in Seattle, Middle Fork is the latest sculptural work by artist John Grade who worked with countless volunteers to help build this enormous mould of a 140-year-old tree.

Friday, 30 May 2014

The Bloodwood Tree

I wonder why it's called a 'Bloodwood' tree ?

Below is a picture of the Bloodwood tree (Pterocarpus angolensis) it is a deciduous, spreading and slightly flat-crowned tree with a high canopy. It reaches about 15 metres in height, has dark bark and is native to southern Africa. Bloodwood is also a name given to a native Australian variety (Corymbia Terminalis) and a genus of plants in the mulberry family (Brosimum Rubescens) native to tropical regions of the Americas and used for decorative woodworking.

Bloodwood tree (Pterocarpus angolensis)
Pterocarpus angolensis is a kind of teak native to southern Africa, known by various names such as Kiaat, Mukwa, and Muninga. It is also called the Bloodwood tree, so named for the tree’s remarkable dark red coloured sap. A chopped trunk or a damaged branch of the tree starts dripping deep red fluid, almost like a severed limb of an animal. The sticky, reddish-brown sap seals the wound to promote healing.

The red sap is used traditionally as a dye and in some areas mixed with animal fat to make a cosmetic for faces and bodies. It is also believed to have magical properties for the curing of problems concerning blood, apparently because of its close resemblance to blood. The tree is also used for treating many medical conditions such as ringworm, stabbing pains, eye problems, malaria, blackwater fever, stomach problems and to increase the supply of breast milk.

The wood makes high-quality furniture, as it can be easily carved, glues and screws well and takes a fine polish. It shrinks very little when drying from the green condition, and this quality, together with its high durability, makes it particularly suitable for boat building, canoes and bathroom floors.
Because of its great value to the indigenous peoples of the central and southern Africa, these trees are being harvested at an unsustainable rate leading to its decline in recent decades.

Watch the video below of the sawing of a Bloodwood tree.


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Bent Bamboo Bicycle

This bicycle is made from sustainable bamboo material and was designed by Alexander Vittouris, a design student at Australia’s Monash University. The young designer envisions a bicycle that isn’t built, but rather “grown” – the bent stalks are formed into the smooth curves gradually, while the bamboo stalk grows. (a concept that is inspired by ‘arborsculpture’ – the process in which tree branches are fixed into shapes as the tree grows). Vittouris has named the bamboo bike the “Ajiro”, It was in the running for various sustainable design awards in 2011 but as far as I can tell is still only in the prototype stage.

The manufacturing idea made Mr Vittouris a finalist for the James Dyson Award 2011, part of the Australian International Design Awards.
He said the bamboo frame would be fitted with other eco-friendly parts to make a functioning vehicle.
"It is a total rethink of how the manufacturing process works," Mr Vittouris, who designed the tricycle as part of a masters project, said.
"This concept is green and clean because the plant does all the work - the plant also acts as carbon storage and it eventually composts back into the soil."

Friday, 2 May 2014

Piano Tree

California state University, Monterey Bay  "Piano Tree"  in a forested area on their Disc Golf course.  A living installation by artist Jeff Mifflin.

Although the piano itself is believed to be just a stage prop which was cut apart then placed around the tree behind the California State University music department by artist Jeff Mifflin, the tree carried on growing and parting the timber of the piano for some time until a drunkard decided to smash it up.
Watch a video of an interview with Jeff Mifflin here.

Friday, 4 April 2014

First detailed map of global forest change

A University of Maryland-led, multi-organizational team of scientists have created the first high-resolution global map of forest extent, loss and gain, a resource that greatly improves our ability to understand human and naturally-induced forest changes and the local to global implications of these changes on environmental, economic and other natural and societal systems, members of the team say.

In a new study, the team of 15 university, Google and government researchers reports a global loss of 2.3 million square kilometers (888,000 square miles) of forest between 2000 and 2012 and a gain of 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles) of new forest.  

Their study, published online on November 14  2013 in the journal Science, documents the new database, including a number of key findings on global forest change. For example, the tropics were the only climate domain to exhibit a trend, with forest loss increasing by 2,101 square kilometers (811 square miles) per year. Brazil's well-documented reduction in deforestation during the last decade was more than offset by increasing forest loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola and elsewhere.

"This is the first map of forest change that is globally consistent and locally relevant," says University of Maryland Professor of Geographical Sciences Matthew Hansen, team leader and corresponding author on the Science paper.
"Losses or gains in forest cover shape many important aspects of an ecosystem including, climate regulation, carbon storage, biodiversity and water supplies, but until now there has not been a way to get detailed, accurate, satellite-based and readily available data on forest cover change from local to global scales," Hansen says.
To build this first of its kind forest mapping resource, Hansen, UMD Research Associate Professor Petr Potapov and five other UMD geographical science researchers drew on the decades-long UMD experience in the use of satellite data to measure changes in forest and other types of land cover. Landsat 7 data from 1999 through 2012 were obtained from a freely available archive at the United States Geological Survey's centre for Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS). More than 650,000 Landsat images were processed to derive the final characterization of forest extent and change.
The analysis was made possible through a collaboration with colleagues from Google Earth Engine, who implemented the models developed at UMD for characterizing the Landsat data sets. Google Earth Engine is a massively parallel technology for high-performance processing of geospatial data and houses a copy of the entire Landsat image catalog. What would have taken a single computer 15 years to perform was completed in a matter of days using Google Earth Engine computing.
Hansen and his coauthors say their mapping tool greatly improves upon existing knowledge of global forest cover by providing fine resolution (30 meter) maps that accurately and consistently quantify annual loss or gain of forest over more than a decade. This mapping database, which will be updated annually, quantifies all forest stand-replacement disturbances, whether due to logging, fire, disease or storms. And they say it is based on repeatable definitions and measurements while previous efforts at national and global assessments of forest cover have been largely dependent on countries' self-reported estimates based on widely varying definitions and measures of forest loss and gain.

Dynamics from local to regional to global scale are quantified. For example, subtropical forests were found to have the highest rates of change, largely due to intensive forestry land uses. The disturbance rate of North American subtropical forests, located in the Southeast United States, was found to be four times that of South American rainforests during the study period; more than 31 percent of U.S. southeastern forest cover was either lost or regrown. At national scales, Paraguay, Malaysia and Cambodia were found to have the highest rates of forest loss. Paraguay was found to have the highest ratio of forest loss to gain, indicating an intensive deforestation dynamic.
The study confirms that well-documented efforts by Brazil -- which has long been responsible for a majority of the world's tropical deforestation -- to reduce its rainforest clearing have had a significant effect. Brazil showed the largest decline in annual forest loss of any country, cutting annual forest loss in half, from a high of approximately 40,000 square kilometers (15,444 square miles) in 2003-2004 to 20,000 square kilometers (7,722 square miles) in 2010-2011. Indonesia had the largest increase in forest loss, more than doubling its annual loss during the study period to nearly 20,000 square kilometers (7,722 square miles) in 2011-2012.
Hansen and colleagues say the global data sets of forest change they have created contain information that can provide a "transparent, sound and consistent basis to quantify critical environmental issues," including the causes of the mapped changes in the amount of forest; the status of world's remaining intact natural forests; biodiversity threats from changes in forest cover; the carbon stored or emitted as a result of gains or losses in tree cover in both managed and unmanaged forests; and the effects of efforts to halt or reduce forest loss.
For example, Hansen says, that while their study shows the efforts of Brazil's government to slow loss of rainforest have been effective, it also shows that a 2011 Indonesian government moratorium on new logging licenses was actually followed by significant increases in deforestation in 2011 and 2012.
"Brazil used Landsat data to document its deforestation trends, then used this information in its policy formulation and implementation. They also shared these data, allowing others to assess and confirm their success," Hansen says. "Such data have not been generically available for other parts of the world. Now, with our global mapping of forest changes every nation has access to this kind of information, for their own country and the rest of the world."

The text of this Blog post remains largely un-edited from the original University of Maryland published paper, I felt the authors report to be of such importance to us all, that the contents should remain intact. I would also urge that readers should make the effort to SHARE this information.    



Thursday, 27 March 2014

Can't See the Tree for the Wood

When British forces captured the Oosttaverne Wood from the Germans during the Battle of Messines in June 1917, they were surprised to find that one of the trees wasn’t a tree at all—it was a steel-and-iron imitation. This camouflaged “tree” had been used by the Germans as an outlook post to spy on the British lines without being detected.

The German “tree” found in Oosttaverne Wood

The British and French also used metal “trees” for observation during World War I. The Germans called the “trees” Baumbeobachter, which literally means “tree observer.” Because the enemy frontlines were watched so closely, any obvious observation methods would be easily spotted. So both sides used Baumbeobachters since they could easily blend into their surroundings.

An Australian-built Baumbeobachter

The Baumbeobachters were hollow steel tubes covered by iron “bark” textured to look like the real thing. The base of the steel tree widened and was buried in the ground to provide support.

The base to a German camouflage tree. This would have been sunk into the ground to provide support for the tree and also to allow access unseen by the enemy.

Close up of the coating on the steel ‘bark’

The observer would access the top of the observation post by climbing inside through a small opening close to the ground then ascending a narrow ladder, not much wider than a man’s boot. The rungs of the ladder were not very far apart, as the small circumference of the interior would prevent anyone from taking large steps.

The entrance to a tree, showing initials carved in its interior by an observer, January 1918.
A section of the ladder from the tree, compared to the size of a man\'s foot.

Once the observer climbed the ladder, he would sit on a small seat attached to the side of the tube. The seat was lower than the sight holes so any bullets or shrapnel that made it in through those openings wouldn’t directly hit the person inside; instead the observer used a periscope to see out.

Section of steel tube with the small and uncomfortable steel seat.

When an army decided they needed a Baumbeobachter, they would find a real tree in a location where they wanted their observation post. They’d have to choose a place along their frontline that was fairly static to put their Baumbeobachter; otherwise, if the line moved, the post would be useless. Then they’d take a picture of the real tree, and the Baumbeobachter would be made to look exactly like the existing tree. Once the army had the fake tree, they would cut down the real tree at night (sometimes under the cover of artillery fire to hide the sound), then put the Baumbeobachter exactly where the old tree was. That way, when the opposing army looked over in the morning, nothing would rouse their suspicions since everything looked exactly the same.

Putting up a camouflage tree (artwork by GC Leon Underwood, 1919)


Sunday, 23 March 2014

Spirit Nests - Jayson Fann

Have you ever wanted to experience the life of a baby bird? How about curling up in a cosy nest perched high in the air? California-based artist Jayson Fann is giving humans that chance, building gigantic nests out of locally harvested tree branches.

The Big Sur Spirit Garden, founded by Jayson Fann, is an International Arts and Cultural Centre located in the beautiful Big Sur valley between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. 

The nests are made from tree branches that are harvested from local forests. Jayson does this with great respect and care for the trees choosing the branches and carefully cutting them so that the tree is not damaged. He uses mostly Eucalyptus wood, a non-native tree which can often be invasive and crowd out native plants The best branches he gathers from the top of the tree as they are more mature, strong, and have unique spiralling shapes sculpted by wind and time.

After sorting his cuttings by size, he then assembles them in a spiral pattern using the natural flexibility of the wood to lock together the pieces like a basket. He also uses hidden screws for extra strength. Once the nest has reached a certain size, he transports it to its final location, sometimes employing trucks and cranes for his larger pieces. Once on location, he does the final assembly, including weaving it onto a robust base.

This nest required a large quantity of wood and a lot of weaving. It's extremely strong as a result of using thicker branches. You can rent out this nest by the night at the Treebones resort in Big Sur,California.

Source: ht:bigsurspiritg

Friday, 14 March 2014

Making Wooden Kitchen Spoons and Similar Utensils

Wooden Spoons 'Hidden' in Trees

I Came across this interesting excerpt from:  Garden Farm Skills. Gene Longsdon (1985) 
A foraging skill I have yet to perfect myself but thought it was well worth sharing. If readers would like to add their own opinions  and experiences on this article, it would be much appreciated.

"There are only two little secrets to making spoons, ladles, and forks out of wood. The first is that you don’t carve the spoon from a block of wood; rather, you find a branch with a spoon in it.
Nothing mysterious about that advice. A proper spoon or ladle must have a curve in the handle to be designed for easy use — those straight-handled wooden spoons you can buy cheap are almost unusable except to stir with. You might be able to steam bend a straight piece of wood to the proper curve, but that would be hard work. What you dare not do is cut the curve into a piece of wood across the grain. Such a spoon easily breaks. Therefore, when he is cutting firewood or when he is in the woods, a spoon maker keeps a sharp eye out for branches that have a natural curve in them to make the curved handle. It becomes, in fact, great sport to find the spoons in the wood.
Then there’s the second secret. Having once found a proper branch or crotch, never carve your spoon from the very center of it. Again, that would make a very weak spoon. Instead, cut the branch in two along the centre line and carve a spoon in each half where the grain is thick enough, width-wise, to make a strong handle.
Rough out the spoon with a handsaw or, if available, a band saw or table saw. In fact, I do most of the rougher carving on the band saw, cutting away little by little, with my eye on the grain of the wood, which determines the curve of the handle, until the spoon begins to appear. I even roughly shape the bowl on the band saw.
Carve out the rest with a sharp knife and perhaps hollow out the spoon bowl with a chisel or gouge. Because I have a drill press at my disposal, I do most of the finish carving with a rasp bit, especially nice for hollowing out the bowl and rounding the bottom. I level, balance, and thin the spoon down to proper proportion, trusting my eye rather than measuring. I rasp and look, rasp and look, making sure that the drill press is so set that it cannot rasp down through the spoon bowl and out the bottom. I finish up with pocketknife and sandpaper.
Walnut is the best of the good hardwoods for carving because it carves easily despite its hardness. White oak is harder to carve but I like it — especially if it is a branch that is beginning to deteriorate just a little. Unusual markings, and often unusual colors, will show up in the finished piece. But almost any wood will do. A spoon is an easy evening’s work. The ones pictured here took only an hour each to make — once I found a proper piece of wood.


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Giuseppe Penone: The Hidden Life Within

The image below is one I have skipped past many times while surfing for 'woody wonders' but have only just got round to investigating further.

“My artwork shows, with the language of sculpture, the essence of matter and tries to reveal with the work, the hidden life within.”
–Giuseppe Penone

Giuseppe Penone (born April 3, 1947) is an Italian artist. Penone started working professionally in 1968 in the Garessio forest, near where he was born. He is the younger member of the Italian movement named "Arte Povera", Penone's work is concerned with establishing a contact between man and nature.

Guiseppe Penone carves out a young tree within an older tree to reveal its past, showing us what once grew inside so that it may now "live in the present." Inspired by the quiet slowness of growth in the natural world, the artist asks us to take a moment to stop and think about the concept of time and how there's a common vital force in all living things.

Penone has carved out the wood to reveal its past, showing the tree that grew inside so that it may “live” in the present. Rather than imposing a form, the artist — in contrast to the architect of this space — draws out an existing form.

The next image of  Guiseppe working within the space of this massive tree in my mind captures the enormity of the artists devotion to this piece.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Chinese Leaf Carvings

Meticulously Handcrafted Chinese Leaf Carvings

What you see below are custom crafted, hand-cut illustrations on dried and treated Chinar leaves. The process involves removing the thin layers of leaf while keeping the vein structure intact.

As the name suggests, leaf carving consists of literally carving an image on to a tree leaf, specifically the leaf of the Chinar tree, a tree native to India, Pakistan and China that bears a close resemblance to the leaf on the maple tree.
"This is a relatively new art form according to Dean Prator, a man in Los Angeles who sells customized carved leaves online. And that's amazing, considering art has been around since the dawn of humanity and trees have been around even longer. "As far as I can tell, it goes back to 1994, when an artist name Huang Tai Shang created this and got in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Creating leaf art is a long and complex process. Leaves are put through a 60 step process such as, manually cutting and removing the outer surface of the leaf while leaving the leafs veins intact which add detail into the subject matter of the carving. Pressing, curing and dying are also just a few of the steps needed to prepare the leaf. 

After special processing, the leaf blade forms a natural permanent pigment, so the colour is stable, and corrosion resistant. An anti-aging treatment helps the leaves exceed the durability of thick paper. The size of these leaves vary since no two leaves are exactly the same. Each leaf is approximately 8 to 10 inches in size. The finished product is strong, durable, natural and beautiful.