Talk:Introduction to Environmental Engineering
Just interested to know your thoughts on the ecological impacts of removing all dead wood from a forested region. Prevention of forest fires does definitely help us humans but I do believe that the decomposition/incineration of old wood is a relatively useful process for the retention of forest resources. When a tree grows it removes minerals and nutrients from the soils, and when it dies they are returned back into the soil through decomposition. So effectively removing dead wood on a regular basis would have a similar effect to taking a living tree. Obvioulsy this is in reference to nutrient retention in the particular ecosystem and the bacteria and insects that take part in this process. I do acknowledge that a living tree provides many other services to a forest and its inhabitants.
I am not particularly knowledgable on this subject and genuinely interested on your views, as I like the idea alot.
Sammas 18:45, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
Alternatives to waste water management-- woodflour (sawdust) as composting medium
Many developing countries cannot afford water treatment technology, and water-borne infections claim millions of lives yearly. Meanwhile, unwanted deadwood causes billion dollar fires in the western U.S. and central Australia, deforestation in the tropics. What's wrong with this picture?
Imagine that the U.S. taxpayer decided to fund a giant guest-worker program to bring in a hundred million workers, all ages and genders, to pick and clip trillions of dead sticks and branchlets from the U.S. forest understorey (say, up to 20 feet from the ground and within 200 feet of any railroad track, truck-access road or streambed).
Labor force rarin' to go
There are 2 million Iraqi refugees in countries like Jordan, and the U.S. so far has accepted 2000 (two thousand).
Mia Farrow's photos of refugee camps in southern Sudan and Chad show a moonscape devoid of any stick or blade of grass. She explains that there is a "tree line" about ten miles from each camp and receding. Women walk twenty miles a day to cut, bundle and carry a load of firewood to cook the edibles provided by international agencies.
Madera Marshall Plan
Couldn't at least one member of each family in each refugee camp be imported to the American west, given camp residence in a railway car, roadside FEMA trailer or other container with food and medical care (Halliburton and other contractors are ready to do this kind of job, aren't they?-- and U. S. soldiers return from Iraq to provide security, etc.), provided an anvil pruner, ratchet pruner, ax and saw, etc., bailing string or wire, and paid a low (for U.S.)/high (compared to their homeland) wage from which they can send something to their families as Mexicans do today.
- High quality roundwood
Wood good enough for carpentry and manufacturing would be logged and loaded on trucks to deliver to town (dead wood only, remember).
- Low quality roundwood-- long
Wood too rotted, weathered or otherwise poor for quality indoor carpentry use would be kept at the campsite, cut in 48" (40" etc.)lengths, notched near the ends like the LINKIN' lOGLETS toy sets, and used to build up MAXPOST BINS, each on an old pallet imported from town or equivalent, into which smaller flammable brush would be centralized (and mixed with woodflour/sawdust, and other composting ingredients) instead of allowed to lie around causing fires as happens presently. Many bins would be constructed, and all sanitary needs of workers in the project met in this way.
- Low quality roundwood-- short
Rotted wood too short for bin-making should be processed in chipper/shredders, to produce chips for roadbeds, mulch, erosion prevention etc., and pulverisers, to produce the fine particle size known in the trade as woodflour (same thing as sawdust) which is just about the best composting medium known.
The woodflour not used locally is to be loaded in sacks (or recycled 5-gallon buckets) and delivered everywhere on the planet that human (or livestock) waste disposal is an issue and composting the answer. (The beauty is, in many cases the guest workers will be hand-harvesting material here which will go to prevent water-borne diseases in their country of origin).
It goes without saying that septic compost is to be delivered not to agriculture but to reforestation projects, in remote areas where no human-destined edible crops are planted.
The chipper and pulverisor machines used in this program would best be on the small side, less than a meter wide so that a standard forklift pallettruck can delivery them into key locations in the forest, up to 200 feet from a highway or streambed. References need to be made to manufacturers introducing machines of this size and type. There is the question whether solar electrification, using panels installed in treetops, can charge batteries used to run such a machine or whether fuels will have to be imported, gas cannisters or whatever.
(This magnificently named program, if initiated before January 2009, would have the backing, understandably, of the incumbent U.S. chief executive who would doubtless be charmed by the reference to his name in a program aimed at preventing bushfires.)
- First a foot or two layer of woodflour/sawdust is laid in the deepest parts of the creekbed, which will catch rainwater in the infrequent showers of the rainy season.
- Then a foot or two layer of chips, shreddings, etc. to hold the soaky woodflour down.
- Next all the loose, straggly, itchy thin branches, brush, stubble, weedstalks would be clipped, bundled, and delivered to the nearest dry or seasonally dry creek bed, ravine, gully, wadí where it would be laid atop the under-bed of woodflour (sawdust) and chips (shreddings). This structure to serve henceforth as a way of retarding part of the rainwater runoff and converting that into mounds of reverdent vegetation.
- Finally, drop some fast-growing invasive seeds down in the above mass-- Government-Approved Industrial Hemp (GAIH), Weepy Long-Leaf Water Tree (WLLW), Ancient Chinese Jewtown Watertree (Ailanthus, or the Tree that Grew on Maxwell Street), Tangy Toke Leaf Desert Tree (Eucalyptus), Shaky Quaky Spade Leaf Water Tree (Poplar, Aspen) and others. Soon it will bush up greeen and vibrant in pursuit of reforestation.
- Upland Pallet-Plywood-Pavement Road System
But first, after trucks have delivered loads of old pallets and reusable pieces of old plywood from town to any typical roadside encampment, a lift truck will deliver this material into the adjoining forest areas (bringing out roundwood and other products on the return trip), while teams of workers build a road system based on pallets laid end to end with plywood nailed down on top, more than one layer if necessary, to make the road strong enough to withstand the weight of a lifttruck carrying a thousand-pound load of more pallets and plywood into the forest, or roundwood logs and sticks and other products out of the forest, which will be trucked downtown to carpentry shops and made into office furniture, toys etc.
Thus a meter-wide pallet-based road network will convert all treated streambeds into a part of the access system which includes truck roads and train lines.
- HEMIGRATION for labor force
Each October a flotilla of old vessels would deliver millions of Bushwater laborers to the southern hemisphere where they would perform similar drywood harvest jobs in Brazil, Australia and other countries. In April the workers return north. Each such vessel, also known as a Workship, would also have many containerloads of wood scrap loaded on board which the passengers can work with en route, producing carpentry that can be sold at the destination port, thus earning funds to more than pay their passage. (An industry should also be developed for repairing old vessels instead of scrapping them, and fitting them with multiple energy sources, so for example on a certain day wind power may be enough to supply two knots of speed, solar-electric another two knots, etc., and the resident travelers have plenty of carpentry to do en route if the ship takes a month to get where it's going.
- Citizenship offer
Laborers who learn English (or Portuguese, Spanish etc.) and complete 3, 6 or other given number of semesters of honorable fire-prevention work, would get to choose a new nationality such as U.S., Brazil or whichever, and receive a fast-track naturalization, including for entire families. This type of work is arguable the most educating on the planet and helps provide character development so that the naturalized citizens will be a good acquisition for the destination country.