In nature waste does not exist, when a leaf falls it offers its nutrients to the next generation of flora and fauna. Nature flourishes when it is respected and can be used to inspire the forest industry with minimal adaption. This project evolved from endeavouring to understand why our forests are decreasing and why we are failing to maintain them, while searching for opportunities to help influence the forest industry into a more sustainable practice.
The strain on forests
Commercial forestry land is becoming scarce, and what remains today is stripped and destroyed for short term profit gain. Not only does this impede future tree growth, it offsets the problem elsewhere. Timber demand is continuously increasing while nutrient rich soil is decreasing.
It has become more financially rewarding for forest owners to convert their land for agriculture, infrastructure and into vast plantations due to the demands of our increasing population. From a governmental level some forests are being preserved however this is adding to the strain on the remaining forests to meet the same demands.
Change in climate
As the climate cycle is changing, we are seeing an increase in weather extremities. This is not a problem for our forests, but it becomes a problem for us when we are lacking forests. Forests help balance our water tables by absorbing the rain and prevent low-surface flash flooding. Forests also help with extreme heat, in which their roots hold the soil together and prevent unstable ground.
We heavily rely on timber as a resource, and one that we will increasingly demand in the future as we phase out fossil fuels and implement alternative energy sources. Instead of directing this project in a “save the rainforest” protest, I opted for a realisable and commercially viable solution. This would increase the possibilities that the research and concept could become a solution that would equally benefit the forestry industry and the forest.
How Axolotl works
In the past we have never been able to separate a tree on site, this requires various return visits to collect what we need, leading to soil compaction and extensive damage to surrounding trees. With Axolotl, we can now separate a tree onsite and return its nutrients to ensure surrounding trees and seedlings remain healthy, while promoting natural regeneration.
In one single operation, Axolotl cuts a selected tree at ground level, avoiding exposed stumps. It then feeds the tree into its body where it is separated. The needles are returned to enrich the soil, while the branches are bundled into a “bio-log” that can be easily collected, when collecting the trunk, and then used instantly as an alternative energy fuel.