Axolotl is not only a new and innovative way of harvesting trees, it is also a new sustainable model for the forest industry. In the past we have never been able to separate a tree on site, this requires various return visits, collecting what we need, leading to soil compaction and 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. This technique seizes the traditional way of harvesting and points the future of tree harvesting in an environmentally friendly and sustainable direction.
Growing up in New Zealand, I have always been overwhelmed by the beauty of the forest. In recent years I have noticed the gradual conversion of our forests into other uses of land. It would break my heart to know that our future generations would not be able to indulge in the forest the way that I have. Therefore I wanted to understand why our forests are decreasing and why we are failing to maintain them, to see if there were any opportunities to help influence the forest industry into a more sustainable practice. It also occurred to me how much we rely on timber as a resource, and one that we will increasingly demand in the future as we implement alternative energy sources. Instead of directing this project in a “save the rainforest” protest, I opted for a realizable and commercially viable solution. I felt this would increase the possibilities that my research and concept could become a viable solution that would benefit the forestry industry as well as the forest
This project was conducted over a 16 week period, in which I collaborated with 9 Swedish forestry companies. I organized various seminars during the project in which I invited company representatives, machinery operators and forest owners. A variety of research methodology was implemented, including on site ethnography of machine operators, multiple interviews with environmental and forestry specialists and field visits to witness current damage and effects.
Throughout the entirety of the project my findings and conclusions were validated by the various people involved. The entire process was documented and compiled into a thorough report that was made available following presenting the research and final concept to a well received audience made up of representatives from all regions of the industry.