Articles: Underwater Logging

Underwater logging allows businesses to salvage timber from underwater forests which have been created by the building of dams and reservoirs. This process is occurring in select locations as they try to get back valuable resources which have been lost.

Often when a dam or reservoir is built trees become inundated and die forming vast areas of underwater forest which we can get timber from. The water protects the timber from fungi which can’t survive due to the pressure and lack of temperature and oxygen in the water.

Another related form of logging is retrieving logs which have been lost whilst being transported across reservoirs. The wood had been abandoned after becoming waterlogged and sinking with the workers transporting them unable to recover them at the time.

These logs can then be retrieved from underneath the water by floating them to the surface. There are a number of ways to retrieve the timber including:

  • Remote Control Vehicles – These vehicles are controlled by an operator on the surface. They are manoeuvred to find submerged trees. Once found they attach a float to the tree before it is felled, this then allows the tree to rise straight to the surface.
  • Attaching Buoys – Scuba divers dive down to the bottom of the body of water and find the sunken logs. They then attach buoy to the log which are used to pull the timber out of the water and onto a boat to be carried to the shore.

Environmental Impacts

There are a few environmental impacts that must be assessed though to make sure that underwater logging is a viable source of timber. First of all marine pollution could increase as more and more ships are used to get the logs back. Also, because the logs are heavy the ships engines will have to work harder in order to transport them. There is also the risk of oil slicks from leaks on the ships which are hard to contain.

There is potential for the erosion of lakes and rivers where the environment developed around the timber so removing it could cause the waterbed to become unstable in certain areas. There is also the risk of loss of habitat for underwater life which will have made some of the logs and trees their home. This will particularly hinder species that rely on the logs for shelter and food.

There are positive benefits to the environment though to go with the bad. Due to the timber being classed as rediscovered, retrieving it helps the timber industry and releases the strain on some timbers that are harvested from the land. Also, roads aren’t needed to be built to get to the timber because transportation routes have already been formed to the waters edge.

iWood does not offer any timber that has come from an underwater logging source.