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Photo Essay: 'Ghost Forest' Tree Stumps Travel from Ghana to Oxford

Ghost Forest is an installation of rainforest tree stumps on display at Oxford University's Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum until July 31, 2011. The project, by Angela Palmer, aims to highlight the alarming depletion of the world's natural resources and the rate of deforestation.


The Ghost Forest in Oxford. These 10 tree stumps began life in Ghana, but this week were hoisted onto the lawn of Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History. The installation, that has previously been seen in Trafalgar Square and in Copenhagen for the UN climate conference, will be on display in the city for the next 12 months. The idea, says the artist, is to 'present a series of rainforest tree stumps as a "ghost forest" – using the negative space created by the missing trunks as a metaphor for climate change, the absence representing the removal of the world's "lungs" through continued deforestation.' (Photo: The Good Agency)



Ghana newspaper agents. Over the past few months, the artist has made several field trips to Ghana to source the tree stumps that will be displayed in Ghost Forest. The artwork has the support of the authorities in Ghana, which after years of heavy logging became the first African country to sign an agreement with the EU outlawing trade in illegally felled timber. (Photo: The Good Agency)



The tree stumps are from the Suhuma forest in western Ghana, a country which over the past 50 years has lost 90% of its primary rainforests. (Photo: The Good Agency)



The trees in Ghost Forest have been sourced from commercially logged primary rainforest in Ghana. Three were trees that had been felled, and seven had toppled over during storms. (Photo: The Good Agency)



The World Bank estimates that Ghana has lost 60% of its primary rainforest through illegal logging. (Photo: The Good Agency)



The destruction of tropical rainforests currently releases nearly one-fifth of all man-made greenhouse gases. Palmer says: 'When the scientist Andrew Mitchell told me that an area of rainforest the size of a football pitch is being destroyed every four seconds, it stopped me in my tracks. That rate equates to an area the size of England being wiped out every year. And when they are gone, they are gone. Simple as that, he said.' (Photo: The Good Agency)



Selecting Ghost Forest stumps and cleaning the roots. (Photo: The Good Agency)



Measuring the roots. (Photo: The Good Agency)



The stumps on their journey out of the rainforest to the port of Takoradi. 'The ensuing operation to bring the trees to England turned into a gargantuan task of logistics,' Palmer says. (Photo: The Good Agency)



The denya stump - the biggest of the stumps - is loaded on to a truck. It caused damage to two trucks, a taxi and some overhead power cables during efforts to get it out of the rainforest and to port. (Photo: The Good Agency)



The denya. Seven indigenous species are represented – denya, dahuma, danta, hyedua, mahogany, wawa and three varieties of celtis – all with a rich and varied ecology and all with equally diverse uses by man. (Photo: The Good Agency)



Truck parts damaged during transit of the denya. (Photo: The Good Agency)



Invoking the spirit. A libation - where liquid is offered as a religious ritual - was offered to ensure the biggest stump's safe passage. (Photo: The Good Agency)



Local people watch the stumps make their journey out of Ghana. (Photo: The Good Agency)



Unloading the denya stump at the port for transport to the UK. Some of the stumps weigh up to 15 tons. (Photo: The Good Agency)



The denya being washed. The stumps have been stored at the 'abnormal loads' depot in Hull since returning from Denmark last year. They traveled down to Oxford under special escort. (Photo: The Good Agency)



Protecting the tree stumps for passage. The carbon footprint for the project was offset through ClimateCare and the money is being used to buy more fuel-efficient stoves for families in Ghana. (Photo: The Good Agency)



The Ghost Forest was exhibited in Trafalgar Square in November 2009. It surrounded 169-foot Nelson's Column - around the same height as the living trees. By night, green laser beams shone upwards to mark where the trees would have reached if they were still standing in their natural habitat. (Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)



The artist, Angela Palmer, sits on a stump during the installing of Ghost Forest in Oxford. (Photo: The Good Agency)


This post originally appeared on The Guardian.

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Comments

Good thing Ghana agreed to transport those stumps to Oxford. Illegal logging is something that is not new but at least they have made efforts to stop it.

We should preserve what we have now before it's too late.


Posted by: Philip on 29 Jul 10

Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.

-Murk


Posted by: Xbox 360 Spiele on 9 Sep 10

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