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
All posts filed under “Forests”
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 – 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
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
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
Matai- vanquished giant of New Zealand’s dry forests?
I’ve long found New Zealand’s black pine, the matai (Prumnopitys taxifolia) to be a special tree. From a dishevelled juvenile, It can grow into one of our tallest and oldest plants. Its foliage, unlike the delicate feathers of its smaller relative the miro, has a… Read more
Canary Islands – ‘Last’ Rainforest in Europe (?)
The fossils are clear – just a few million years ago Europe was covered in broad-leaved, evergreen forest. There were palm trees and numerous other trees that are now only found in the tropics. Under almost any definition, this would be called ‘rainforest’. The climate… Read more
The Last Deep Dark Primeval Forest in Europe?
In Poland there are any number of subjects that might make good postcards, Polish girls perhaps. But decaying logs? In the far east of Poland, this is in fact the case. Białowieża Forest is reputed to be the last, or perhaps the last sizeable ‘untouched’ forest… Read more
Mongolia – The Lost Forests of the Gobi
When an entire landscape loses its forests, it can be so complete that most of us would have no comprehension of what had once been. The trees are cut down, or burnt, the soil washes away … and the very evidence has been obliterated. For… Read more
Attack of the Forest-Killing Fungi (Kauri and the Elm Decline)
New Zealanders are becoming aware of a new threat to their native forests – as if logging, burning, opossums, deer, ferrets, cats, dogs, weren’t enough. This time it’s a fungus (Phytophthora), and it’s attacking our oldest trees – the giant kauris (Agathis). This pest has… Read more