Trees on the road

By Alex Dahm14 December 2009

The Ghost Forest set up in Trafalgar Square, London

The Ghost Forest set up in Trafalgar Square, London

Abnormal Load Services (International) Ltd. in the UK has transported an unusual cargo for an art project aimed at raising awareness of connections between deforestation and climate change.

The Hull, Yorkshire-based company arranged the movement of tropical hardwood tree stumps from Ghana for artist Angela Palmer’s Ghost Forest project. ALS picked them up at Tilbury docks on the River Thames east of London and moved them to Trafalgar Square in the capital city for a November exhibition. Next, they were moved on, via Hull in the North east of England, to Copenhagen in Denmark for the early December UN Climate Change Conference.

The ten stumps from nine species of tree, including one of African mahogany, were moved on semi low loaders and low loaders. Largest of loads was 7 m long, 5 m wide, 4.2 m tall and weighed 20 tonnes. A tree surgeon had to reduce width and height by more than 2 m for travel on British and Danish roads.

ALS’s operations team was responsible for the planning and execution of the project from Tilbury to London, Hull and on to Copenhagen working closely with suppliers for safe and controlled delivery to a schedule.

Sponsors of Angela Palmer’s project are The Arts Council England and Deutsche Bank. Palmer said inspiration was a discussion with Andrew Mitchell, director of international scientific alliance, the Global Canopy programme. “He alarmed me with statistics: a tropical rain forest the size of a football pitch is cut every four seconds, meaning an area twice the size of Belgium is lost in a year.”

The trees were from Ghana, which has lost 90% of its primary rainforest in the last 50 years, but is now active in the preservation of the remainder.

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