I just had an article published in Odyssey Magazine this month. This is a very cool, science magazine for middle school kids that I have loved for a long time. Each issue has a theme, and April’s theme is trees. I wrote a piece about how whole tree building can protect our forests. Here is how it starts:
If all of the trees on Earth were divided equally among all of the planet’s people, we would each have a piece of forest about the size of a football field. But your personal patch of trees is shrinking. Studies by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization show that each year the world loses 35,000 square miles of forest. That’s enough to cover the state of Indiana.
Roald Gundersen, architect and CEO of Whole Trees Architecture and Construction based in Stoddard, Wisconsin, thinks he has found a way to harvest trees that does not harm the forest. His preferred building material comes from what many people would call weed trees.
Clearcutting is the way most trees are harvested: All the trees in an area are cut at the same time, and those that are too small or scrubby are piled up and burned.
Rivers running through areas that are clearcut lose their shade, and the water gets warmer. Adding even a few degrees can make the water too warm for native fish, amphibians, and plants.
Without the trees, rain turns into muddy runoff as nutrient-rich top-soil gets washed downstream. Valuable soil nutrients are flushed out to sea, where they; harm aquatic life.
But we can’t stop cutting trees. Trees give us some of our best building materials. According to Doug Rammer, a research engineer at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Products Laboratory, wood has a greater strength-to-weight ratio than steel. His lab wants to find even more ways we can use wood.
You can read the rest of the article (plus many other cool things)
Categories: Eco architecture, Ecosystem Restoration
I seem to be having problems with the link. Sounds interesting though
I’m sorry about the link. I think I have it fixed now. If not, I’ll just copy the whole piece into the blog post.
Let me know if you can’t get it.
Thanks for the heads up,
The link is working fine now. Great article. I’m sharing it with my daughter.
Thanks Denise that is a very interesting article. I have just got back from a forestry seminar which is encouraging people to use the weed trees as biofuel, don’t think they have thought of building with it.
I have a neem tree very closed to my house, which damaging the house. now I have to extent my house also. So please tell me know about the prosses to cut it in detail.
Thanks for commenting, R.N.Pal. Until you wrote, I had never heard of the neem tree http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azadirachta_indica but now that I have learned how useful it can be, I’m sorry you have to cut it.
I don’t know enough about the situation to advise how to cut it. But you may be able to use parts of it . My post today https://digginginthedriftless.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/how-to-peel-trees/ may give you some ideas, if you decide to peel it and let it die before you cut it. A tree that has died and dried is much lighter and easier to work with.
Good luck, and be careful. Even small trees can be dangerous when they fall.