Participants at Week in the Woods (http://weekinthewoods.org/) harvested alder bark to make small containers. Alder is relatively fast growing nitrogen fixing shrub that is used for wood carving and meat smoking in Alaska. Unlike birch bark harvesting, alder bark harvesting damages the plant because the cambium and outer-bark will not separate. Each limb that has the bark removed will be girdled and will die. As long as less than 1/3 of the plant is harvested the entire plant should recover (alders are accustom to heavy grazing). The limbs that were girdled in the bark harvesting process were later turned into chair legs. Participants also used this technique to harvest spruce bark and persumably it could be used to harvest many other types of trees.
These photos were taken by Alex Kamerling.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
A knife, a stand of alder, and a warm summer day are all that are needed. Alder is can be distinguished from other Alaskan trees because it has broad leaves and cones.
Step 2: Cutting
Make a vertical cut down the trunk of the tree.
Step 3: Sliding Off the Bark
Peel the bark away from the wood. The bark can be removed by sliding a hand between the bark and the wood and slowly working around the tree.
Step 4: Start a Project
Participants at Week in the Woods made small containers from alder bark. See that project in the my next Instructable.