Rihards Vītols
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In 1987. two scientists: William J. Mattson and Robert A. Haack, in their paper The Role of Drought in Outbreaks of Plant-eating Insects, based on the previous researches suggested that insects can here the trees produced sound emissions and based on this sounds they know is a tree is good for them. The sound emissions in the trees are produced in cavitation process – when the water from ground is going up to the tree branches, in the result of tree and water friction, there are appearing air bubbles which then make the sounds, while traveling through the tree, in the range between 20 kHz and 2000 kHz. According to World Wide Fund research in 2007. in the near future birds population in the world will drastically decrease. This will allow to grow the insect population and one of the dangerous of them will be the plant-eating ones. They will slowly destroy our forests which will decries fresh air production in the world. I started to build my work based on these two papers. My research is experiment to see if we can replace some of the bird species whit an artificial ones to scare way the plant-eating insects, before they have started to populate a tree, explore communication among the insects, trees and woodpeckers. Till now I have talked whit solid state physicist and microbiologist both of them approved that trees are making the ultra sound emissions. Then I got in touch whit entomologist – he suggested the right way for data collecting and what kind of trees I need to chose for my artificial woodpeckers. Since then I have build 30 woodpeckers and they where set up in the forest near Dusseldorf. I monitored them for 4 weeks once every week. I took pictures of them checked if other species are not attacking to them. I was trying not to interfere whit them to see how the nature and other species are coexisting whit them in the forest. Till now I haven't seen others inhabitants attacking them, but 3 of them I needed to take down before the set deadline. Two of them where destroyed, but nothing was stolen and near one of them there was a bird nest. Based on that information I consider that they have been attacked by other inhabitants of the forest. Third one was badly damaged in the storm. I have collected data ( small bark pieces, as entomologist suggested ) of the chosen trees before I attached my robots to them and when I was taking them down. Reason was to compare the data are they helping or not. On a day when I took them down I noticed that those ones which where not working where inhabited by spiders, earwigs and moths. And based on this observation I can suggest that my artificial woodpeckers are working and helping to keep away the insects.
The documentation video of the work Woodpecker, 2016.
One of my artificial woodpeckers in a forest All 30 woodpeckers, geting packed to be put out in a forest All woodpeckers in a forest on the set up day All woodpeckers in a forest after second week All woodpeckers in a forest after therd week All woodpeckers in a forest after fourth week, gray squares symbolize thoes woodpeckers which I needed to take down faster because they were damaged First woodpecker that I looked down. I found it lying on the ground. I like to think that some animal "kicked" it of the tree because it was on it's way. Second I found hanging on the tree upside down. It was after a storm. It was emotional experience. While i was taking it down it was still carrying out its program. Therd one I found upside down as well, but this time there was a bird nest in a tree next to it. When I was taking down my woodpeckers thoes that lack of sun where stoped imitating woodpeckers. In them I found traces of spiders, moths and earwigs. Based on this I can say that my experiment was secsfull because thoes one that was still working where clean of insects When I was setting up the woodpeckers on trees I collected from each tree a bark sample and I did it again when I was taking them down. That was one of the suggestions, which I got from a entomologist, so I could compare data before and after. In Left side you can see before and in right side after. In collaboration with Latvian private medicine center ARS I got to X ray sistem taht allowed to me explore the bark pieces in more detailed study Image from the exhibition RAM in RIXC gallery in Latvia