Prosthetic Tree Hollows - Melbourne University Collaboration

McConnell Dowell is collaborating with researchers from the University of Melbourne to develop prosthetic tree hollows for birds and mammals.

Many birds cannot build their own nests and rely on hollows that naturally form in trees over centuries, but these habitats are becoming increasingly rare. Conservationists often install nest boxes to support birds while trees regenerate, but such boxes have known shortcomings.

In response, this collaboration aims to create better designs using laser measurements of natural habitat shapes, computer modelling of novel designs, and new materials, including 3D-printed wood and mycelium, the root-like structures of mushrooms.

The images show two prototypes trialling these innovative techniques. After further development and testing, the team will install and monitor a selection of designs in Seymour, Victoria.