Trees from the bottom of an African lake could be used to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral after Kete Krachi Timber Recovery, a private company based in Ghana pledged to provide the massive replacement wooden beams at cost.
Experts had ruled out replacing the 1,300-year-old oak timbers, as the trees that are required take hundreds of years to grow to the right size and are only found in primary forests untouched by human activity.
Lake Volta was created in 1964 as a result of the construction of the Akosombo Dam in Ghana, and is the world’s largest man-made lake, with a surface area of over 3,000 square miles – slightly less than half the size of Wales. The flooding submerged vast tracts of hardwood forest, and this timber – estimated at over 14 million3 – is perfectly preserved.
Francis Kalitsi, chairman of Kete Krachi Timber Recovery, said: “The wood in Lake Volta is perfect for rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral. The trees are old-growth tropical hardwoods, so are large enough to replace the massive old oak timbers, and dense and strong enough to bear the load of the structure. The timber from Volta Lake will provide quality, beauty, performance, and character, without having to cut down a single living tree.”
At full capacity Kete Krachi Timber Recovery will be the largest hardwood timber operation in Africa and will provide a significant boost to both local employment and to the Ghanaian economy, producing valuable hardwood with minimal environmental impact. With Ghana’s forest cover reduced by 90% since 1900, salvaging timber from Lake Volta will enable Ghana to maintain timber exports whilst undertaking reforestation to regenerate the country’s remaining living forests.
Image by Markus Naujoks from Pixabay