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Re-Imagining Wood Challenge

Circular growth

This topic contains 13 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of ciscolara ciscolara 4 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #2239

    With over half the world’s population already living in an urban environment, and another two billion expected to join them in the next 30 years in response to socio-economic circumstances and population growth, urbanization offers a multitude of challenges and opportunities for human and ecosystem welfare.

     

    A key topic is maintaining and improving human health in such complex environments, which struggle with water supply, waste management, and pollution while encroaching on the natural environment. Urban form is at the crux of this, shaping people’s choices with regards to transportation, commerce, recreation and social interaction and thereby influencing their wellbeing.

     

    To adequately address the issues at stake a paradigm shift in the way urban spaces are conceived and laid out is required. Yet all large transformations start with small changes, the concept of circular growth is one of these.

     

    Circular growth refers to the idea that trees do not have to be felled to provide resources and that the products produced from these sources can be recycled. A specific example of this would be to use leaf litter, pinecones or bark (e.g. from eucalyptus trees that shed it naturally) to produce a pulp, via eco-friendly methods, and make products such as plant pots and flexible erosion control (currently produced from plastics). The plant pots can then be composted by direct (planting) or indirect (green waste) methods. Similarly, for erosion control, as overlying vegetation develops roots to hold material in place the temporary structure biodegrades, providing nutrients.

     

    This concept contributes towards the increasing demand for sustainability, carbon neutrality and more efficient resource consumption; enabling trees to be retained during material sourcing while simultaneously providing green recreational spaces in urban areas, thereby benefitting human and ecological health.

    [starrater tpl=44 size=’24’]

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  • #2247
    Profile photo of Mark Anson
    Mark Anson
    Member

    Thank you for this idea Saskia.

    The harvesting of cork should provide a nice presidency, although it does not form the complete circle that you describe.

    My fathr and I are currently working on a similar project.  We live in an urban environment and are  appaulled by the amount of time and money that goes into leaf removal each autumn.    First rakers make large piles, then usually the wind scatters the piles before the front-end loaders and dumptrucks can gather them up.  This simply gets repeated over and over.   Finally the leaves end up  at an overwhelmed central composting site, where eventually the resultant soil will again be transpoted all over the city.

    As an alterative, last fall we took the leaves from our yard and put them in a compactor.  The result in a small dence block, well formed and quite solid.  We then drilled a hole and put in some worms.  Our theory is that come spring, we will have a nice pile of worm castings (fantastic fertilizer).  We then feed the very trees that the leaves fell from.

    Our goal is a fleet of small modile compactors that gather and form blocks , with worms, and tuck them away for the winter.  If the city want to collect them, fine, the wind and rain do not dammage them.  They can be gathered at the leasure of the cities schedule.  If left in place, they just strengthen and replenish the soil, as intended.

    As suggested by your project, our compactor could easily mold shapes.  Plant pots or lego building blocks could be made to help form the foundation of urban gardens.  I love your concept of creating matts to prevent soil errosion. Or maybe leaf matts used to insulate the  root balls of plants (again as leaves are natrurally intended).

    So we clean up the city, stabalize the leaves, encourage their decomposition, replenish the soil, all without a huge task force and massive amount of transportation.  I hope this test phase is a success.

    #2248
    Profile photo of Mark Anson
    Mark Anson
    Member

    wow! looks like I had spell check disabled on that last entry. Sorry.

    #2249
    Profile photo of ciscolara
    ciscolara
    Member

    it feels to me like a beautiful concept but I think it would not be enough to satisfy the needs in the sociaty that we are living in today. I think though that is something that we should do!
    definitely!!!!

    I like it very much.

    what kind of trees are you think about specifically?

    obviously  pine and eucalyptus right?

     

    #2250

     

    Thank you for the positive feedback. I’ve attached a design for a flowerpot from biomass material as a specific example of what could be done. Still working on the erosion control example.

     

    In reply: Mark- I would like to congratulate you on your current trial! It’s so encouraging to see these initiatives and it would be great if you can involve people at a community level like that.

     

    Ciscolara- although I understand your point that litter biomass would not be enough to satisfy the needs of our current society, this doesn’t mean that it won’t satisfy in the future. After all, a large shift in our resource will have to occur as is exemplified by the current shift towards a circular economy (a good example of this is the ‘lease a jean’ concept that has just started this year in the Netherlands). As for the tree species to be used, I would stick with whatever occurs endemically in an area. Those trees have evolved to cope with local conditions and retaining them in favor of perhaps faster growing species will enhance biodiversity conservation and may also positively impact other endemic flora and fauna in an area.

     

    Flower pots and erosion control are natural extensions of the circular growth concept but I would love to see the idea extend to using biomass for the production of other items, for example fabrics (e.g. tencel, barkcloth) and thereby opening up a whole new world of possibilities! Of course the idea is that once a garment is worn out, and the fibers can no longer be recycled into new materials as it would be left to biodegrade to produce fertilizer.

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    #2294
    Profile photo of D Gaker
    D Gaker
    Member

    Many of the pieces of furniture I have built use branches of trees rather than heartwood.  This allows the tree to continue growing (after being nicely pruned), and the wood has been used rather than wasted.

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    #2316

    I love this idea!! great untapped resource. a good use for this material would be compost pails for multi family dwellings, for when the program kicks in here in Vancouver. Because one of the major deterants to people composting is dealing with the dirty pail, but if they could trow it out each time that would make it more appealing to the masses.

    #2318
    Profile photo of Mark Anson
    Mark Anson
    Member

    rdshipway, I too am in Vancouver, it would seem that my leaf compact trial (as described above) and your compost pail would be a great match.

    #2321

     

    D-Gaker: regards to the circular growth concept presented here it would only be branches that have naturally fallen off that would be used as I’d only be looking to use parts of trees that have been naturally ‘discarded’. That’s in an ideal case though, as Ciscolara pointed out this may not fulfill current global requirements, so using branches rather than stem wood is a great idea!

     

    RdShipway and Mark Anson, glad you have found each other through this thread! I agree that domestic compost piles (from garden waste rather than kitchen at this stage) may be a great resource. I am based in the UK where household compost material is already collected in a green bin on a weekly basis, though I am unsure of what happens to it afterwards.

     

    I have now also attached an image of an idea to combat soil erosion without the need for synthetic materials. Two factors are key in soil erosion: the amount of exposed soil and the flow rate of surface water runoff, the greater they are, the more erosion occurs. Therefore one of the best ways to combat soil erosion is by planting a slope in a terraced manner. This subdivides one large slope into multiple smaller ones, enabling more surface water to be absorbed rather than run off and decreases flow velocities as the water stream gets continually broken up. I have decided to use hexagonal terrace shapes as hexagons are efficient naturally-occurring shapes that gain strength when compressed (such as by filling multiple adjacent hexagons with soil).

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    #2323

    Attached is a picture of a paper model of the columnar idea, filled with Easter eggs as I didn’t have any small plants to illustrate the idea with. Happy Easter!

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    #2366
    Profile photo of D Gaker
    D Gaker
    Member

    I suppose I thought of pruning as being close enough to natural discarding.  Especially for urban trees, pruning is crucial to avoid power lines, as well as for the general health of the tree.

     

    http://www.srpnet.com/electric/trees.aspx

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    #2378

    Ah! Now there you’ve raised an interesting point as in Western Europe most of our power lines run underground and I had therefore not considered the matter in that respect. In places where this is necessary incorporating branches from pruning is a good idea as these would otherwise be waste material.

    #2387
    Profile photo of D Gaker
    D Gaker
    Member

    I truly envy your powerlinelessness.  But it’s also a good idea to prune a tree even if there is not an obstruction.

    http://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/pruning_mature.aspx

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    #2412
    Profile photo of ciscolara
    ciscolara
    Member

    maybe you should give more feedback about the design give it a second thought and how this would actually looks like

     

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