2 August 2012

The Ghost Forest

The Ghost Forest consists of 10 giant hardwood rainforest tree stumps from the Suhuma forest reserve in Ghana and is an environmental art installation by artist Angela Palmer highlighting deforestation & the depletion of natural resources. Artist Angela Palmer says that the trees are intended to represent rainforest trees worldwide:"Today, a tropical forest the size of a rugby pitch is destroyed every four seconds, impacting on climate, biodiversity and the livelihoods of indigenous people" and that the absence of the trees' trunks in the installation is "a metaphor for the removal of the world's 'lungs' through deforestation". Most of the trees in the Ghost Forest fell naturally in adverse weather conditions, those that didn't were part of a sustainable controlled logging programme.

After leaving Ghana, the Ghost Forest was installed in Trafalgar Square, London, then outside the Parliament Building in Copenhagen during the Cop15 UN Climate Change Conference and, most recently in Oxford. Now it has come to the National Botanic Garden of Wales at Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire, for its final, permanent resting place.

The installation has been jointly secured by the National Botanic Garden of Wales in partnership with the Wales-based rainforest charity, Size of Wales. The phrase  'an area the size of Wales’ is frequently used to measure the rate of forest destruction. Size of Wales is a unique Welsh initiative aiming to turn the negative use of Wales' size around by aiming to protect an area of rainforest the size of the Welsh nation - that is 2 million hectares of rainforest. Director of Size of Wales, Hannah Scrase, said: “Wales is stepping up to the challenge of stopping tropical forest destruction and having Ghost Forest here in Wales to remind us will really strengthen our resolve and will help us all to get closer to the issue of tropical deforestation."
Garden director Dr Rosie Plummer said: “No one can fail to be awed by the sight of these huge botanic leviathans and we are planning to inspire all our visitors, young and old, to create poetry, art, photography, music and theatre out of their experiences.”

On Sunday, the 29th of July, the Ghost Forest arrived at the National Botanic Garden in a major logistical operation, involving 6 huge low-loader lorries, a massive crane, a team of engineers, garden staff, charity representatives, volunteers and much tea, coffee, sandwiches and Welsh cakes.

Here are a few pictures of the day:

The 20-ton trunk of a Denya (Cylicodiscus gabunensis, naturally fallen) arrives on low-loader
Preparing the Denya and then hoisting it into position

Left to right: Rosie Plummer (Director of National Botanic Garden of Wales), Lowri Jenkins ('Size of Wales' charity), Angela Palmer (artist) posing with cut-out Wales shape

Hoisting another buttress-rooted trunk into position - it look so surreal against the backdrop of native British woodland

Beautiful shapes reminiscent of so many things

And even before the installation is officialy open, a Garden volunteer explores the inside of an 8.8 ton Dahoma (Piptadeniastrum africanum)
...and the view from the inside

Yes, no doubt, the Ghost Forest is going to be very popular

Go and visit !!

And if you want to know even more about this project, here are some links:


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