Thailand – Australia – United Kingdom

Underwater Forest Vs. Underwater Chainsaw

A chainsaw-wielding submarine harvests flooded forests

It may seem like a pipe dream for someone to come up with a viable solution to stop the endless logging in many parts of the world. Logging that is driven by people’s materialistic needs, usually the very same people who bemoan the loss of our rainforests and the effects of global warming. Yet one company, Triton, who have been in business for a number of years, discovered perfectly adequate resolution quite a while ago, its just few people know of it, or practice it.

Beneath the surface of many lakes around the world stand sprawling underwater forests. Towering trees that may have been submerged for decades but are no less usable than trees plucked from land forests. It’s thought there are around 300 million trees lying in a number of lakes formed after valleys were flooded to make way for dams and reservoirs. These perfectly preserved forests could easily be the answer conservationists have been looking for.

Using a large submersible, remote-controlled logging machine, known as the ‘Sawfish’, Triton Logging Company are able to harvest up to 50 trees an hour. Sawfish operators use sonar navigation to guide the robotic lumberjack under the water. It latches on to the tree’s trunk and mechanically fells the tree. Inflatable airbags bring the tree to the surface.

Since 2004, Canadian based Triton has used Sawfish to log Oosta and Lois Lakes in British Columbia, where it’s estimated 15 million of the world’s submerged trees lie. It also operates on three other continents. Their plan is to operate wherever possible in the future.

Why Has Sawfish Not Taken the World by Storm?

For all the wood lying underwater there are millions of acres more forest above ground. And by weird coincidence these forests are generally in places where people will work at any job to get money for their family. Logging is a catch 22 situation for many people caught up in the cycle. There is a growing demand for wood worldwide as the global population increases, despite calls for the process to become more sustainable.

Loggers do not have an easy life, and it never pays well. It’s the logging companies selling on the goods who make the big bucks, but no doubt in this current economic climate prices will have fallen, so to make any money they need to fell more wood than they did before. And so the cycle continues.

Linda McCormick


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