Designing Canopy Walkways: Engineering Calculations for Building Canopy Access Systems with Cable-Supported Bridges


walkway construction
temperate forest
tropical forest

How to Cite

Bouricius, W. G., Wittman, P. K., & Bouricius, B. (2002). Designing Canopy Walkways: Engineering Calculations for Building Canopy Access Systems with Cable-Supported Bridges. Selbyana, 23(1), 131–136. Retrieved from


Canopy access systems that include cable-supported walkway bridges are being built around the world to study forest canopy ecosystems. The "canopy walkways" considered here require less physical effort on the part of researchers than do rope climbing techniques. Such systems also facilitate collaboration between several researchers moving laterally through the canopy. The physics of building hanging structures, such as canopy bridges, needs to be understood and utilized to design a safe, long-lasting structure. An interactive computer program was developed that employs catenary curve equations and nested root extraction algorithms to calculate construction parameters. The use of this program has accelerated the design of several structures built in the canopy of both temperate and tropical forests.


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