WHAT IS UNDERWATER TIMBER?

 Underwater Timber refers to logs, trees, and timber that have been submerged under rivers, lakes, and other waterways. Two common examples of underwater timber are reclaimed river logs sunk during water transportation and storage in log ponds, and submerged trees flooded during the construction of man-made reservoirs (i.e. dams for Hydroelectric Power Plants and Irrigation projects).

Reclaimed sunken timbers

Logs recovered from the river in North America

 

LOGS SUNK DURING TRANSPORT & STORAGE

To this day, the most efficient and cost effective method of transported timber is via rivers and waterways. An estimated 5-20% of all logs stored and transported via water can become dislodged, waterlogged, then sink to the riverbed.

Logs are often stored in log ponds either at locations such as collection points, sawmills, and transport hubs to season the timber and protect against pests. Even low density "floater" species can become waterlogged and sink to the riverbed.

The lack of sunlight, pests, & oxygen preserve this reclaimed underwater timber, & can give it a unique appearance, increased durability, and a higher value.

Historical log pond
Meranti log raft in Malaysia

SUBMERGED FORESTS PRESERVED BENEATH MAN-MADE LAKES

Globally there is an estimated US $50 billion worth of timber left standing after vast areas were flooded to make man made lakes. Often these forests were submerged during the construction of Hydroelectric Powerplants and Irrigation Projects.

These forgotten forests release large amounts of CO2 and Methane are into the atmosphere if left undisturbed. Harvesting this underwater timber brings double the environmental benefit through reducing dangerous emissions, and providing a sustainable alternative to logs harvested from terrestrial forests.

Submerged Forest in Lake Volta, Ghana
Itaipu Dam, Brazil