#459: Autofelling

Harvesting trees, in even a responsibly managed plantation, is a messy and energy sapping process. Even when they have been cut down, the forest floor is still littered with roots, making it harder to replant.

Today’s invention is a way to allow the trees to grow naturally, whilst making their harvesting more straightforward.


Each seedling is planted in a thin layer of soil under which has been buried a small, square flagstone. The stones are impenetrable to tree roots and they interlock so as to form an effectively continuous surface.

The trees grow roots laterally and within a limited depth of earth. At harvest time, a root cutting saw can be guided along the edges of the square stones (perhaps mounted on a small robotic carriage). This will so destabilise the trees that a moderate wind will then be enough to fell them (pulling up most of the remaining roots at the same time).

Placement of the seedling stem to one side of each stone, when planting, will allow the direction of its subsequent fall to be predetermined.

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