Tag Archives: rattan

Timber and paper in space settlements

The inhabitants of space settlements need to establish their own supply of wood, both as timber as for the production of paper. Importation of wood from Earth will be a costly affair, and unfortunately it takes several decades for trees to grow to commercial height. Alternative sources for tree wood have to be found.

We can use hemp as a resource for production of paper. One advantage of hemp is that it is a fast growing crop. Further hemp has a lower lignin content than wood. Lignin is an unwanted substance in paper, and hence has to be removed from pulp. A serious challenge is that hemp has a low cellulose content (relative to wood), however, through genetic engineering the cellulose content of hemp might be increased.

Another application of hemp is the production of fiber boards. Fiber boards can also be made of bamboo, a fast and high growing grass. Certain types of bamboo, known as timber bamboo, can be used as timber either directly or as resource for engineered wood.

Another alternative for tree wood is rattan, also a fast growing plant. Furniture and baskets made of rattan are well-known, and there is no reason why space settlers will like them less than terrestrials.