All posts filed under “Forests

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Geologising in the Rainforests of Aceh, Indonesia

Our Indonesian guide, with a parang (machete) in hand, dropped vertically in front of me, just brushing my face, while out of my peripheral vision I saw someone cartwheeling down through the trees. Then, within about two seconds, six people had vanished. I was alone… Read more

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The Lost Forests of Southland, New Zealand

Forests that have disappeared so completely that you would hardly believe they really existed, have long fascinated me.  When I left my home in Alexandra for university in Dunedin, I took with me a facsimile map my mother had given me. It was a mid… Read more

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Once a Vast Forest – Motatapu Track, New Zealand

Early on a cool Sunday morning I sipped my latte outside Relishes Cafe, Wanaka, and thought the immediate view could be better. In a somewhat typical urban New Zealand fashion, the lake is cut off from the cafe not just by a road, but a… Read more

Curio Bay Jurassic fossil forest in New Zealand
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New Zealand: The Jurassic fossil forest at Curio Bay

If you make your way down to almost the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island, you can walk among the stumps of a petrified Jurassic forest (that’s about 170 million years old). It’s a gem of New Zealand’s fossil plant history, and because of its complete preservation… Read more

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The Honey Trees of Kalimantan

I was sitting in a ger in Mongolia when I put up my hand to go to Indonesia. My ulterior motive was to get a chance to get into the Indonesian rainforests. Back in 1988 I had read Eric Hansen’s book “Stranger in the forest:… Read more

Cedars of Lebanon
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Lebanon – Last Gasp of the Cedar Forests

Europe to Australasia is long-haul, and if you are not into heroics, it’s nice to break the journey somewhere. I wonder how many travellers consider Lebanon? The big draw-card for me were the famous ‘Cedars of Lebanon’.  This is a highly relictual patch of trees… Read more

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Australian Grasstrees – ancient registrars of fire

In Australia there are trees that look like inside-out chimneys. Strong but sensitive – a fungal attack can leave them as a pile of mush within days, and, often as not, they won’t survive being transplanted from the wild. But, you can burn them to… Read more

Palissya fossil cone from New Zealand Jurassic
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Palissya – mysterious cone of New Zealand’s Jurassic forests

In the early 1980s when I was working on the Jurassic fossil forest of Curio Bay, near the bottom end of New Zealand’s South Island, it seemed clear that two main types of tree formed the forest canopy. There were two types of conifer foliage fossil around Curio… Read more

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New Zealand – Beeches Invade Paradise!

In the old days in New Zealand, you needed to add the right prefix to telephone numbers to ring the adjacent villages. Our number was a 3-digit figure in the Clyde exchange. To ring Alexandra, 6 km down the road, I think we had to prefix… Read more

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Flooded Forests: sea-level rise in the Haast, West Coast, New Zealand

I own a little patch of bush in the Haast, on the wet, West Coast of New Zealand. It was selectively logged a few decades ago, which meant that the large podocarp trees were removed. It then became the edge of what was left of… Read more