Endemic Conifers

Category: General

Tasmania is rich in cool temperate rainforest and has a number of interesting endemic conifers.

The towering myrtles of callidendrous rainforest create a shaded, quiet garden where it is pleasant to roam amoung lush green tree ferns leaning this way and that, twisting under fallen logs and growing up again from they fell over a blanket of golden myrtle leaves made soft from years of layering. The pencil pine forests in contrast are dense with prickley understorey, damp and dark in valleys, open and sunny on the ridges.

Find out about the ecology of these endemic conifers and Tasmania's cool temperate rainforest

The small list below is a start to finding and recording the champion trees of Tasmania. Our goal for the champion tree register is to record the tallest and widest girthed tree of the dominant rainforest species and endemic conifers of Tasmania, including:

Myrtle, Nothofagus cumminghamii

Blackwood, Acacia melanoxylon

Celery-top pine, Phyllocladus aspleniifolius

Sassafras, Atherosperma moschatum

Huon pine, Lagarostrobus franklinii

Pencil pine, Athrotaxis cupressoides

King billy pine, Athrotaxis selaginoides

Species Height (m) Diameter (cm) Name Locality Easting Northing Track
Blackwood 49.9 96 Kanunnah Big Tree Arthur River, Trowutta 329950 5447268 Yes
Blackwood 36 105 Goulds blackwood Goulds Country 588352 5436086 No
Myrtle 46.7 261 Callidendrous Giant Pipeline Nth of Savage River 354000 5421454 No
King billy pine 37.8 259 Big Billy Cradle Mountain Lodge Track 410053 5394907 Yes
King billy pine 26.5 226.6   Cradle Mountain, Black Bluff 410037 5410037 No
Pencil pine 23.8 144.2 Ranger's secret Cradle Mountain 409565 5393072 No
Pencil pine 20.9 105.9 Possum Hole Tree Walls of Jerusalem 442475 5368799 Yes
Pencil pine 18.4 168 Triple Head Walls of Jerusalem 442084 5368876 Yes

Find Giant Trees

Category: General

Climbing Tasmania's Giant Trees

Category: General

In the broad valleys of the southern forests of Tasmania, deep, fertile soils, long breaks between stand replacing fires and good year round rainfall combine to produce the tallest and largest eucalyptus trees on the planet.

While previous autumn tree climbing trips to Tasmania have often been very wet and cold affairs, thankfully this time the rain stayed away and we were able to climb and measure 5 giant trees in pleasantly mild and dry conditions. These included 3 giants in volume, Swearing Bobs Beast: 314m³, Hopetoun Link Hulk: 306m³ and Baron Bennetts 282m³. And 2 in height: Kermandie King 91.25m tall and a tree in the Plenty Valley that was 90.3m tall.

You may well ask, can’t you get reasonable accurate figures of a tree’s height and size from the ground without going through all the hassle and effort of climbing the tree? It is true you can get a reasonable idea of the size and height of a giant tree from the ground. However, the highly accurate and detailed numbers we are after can usually only be obtained from climbing the tree.

When measuring a tree’s height, a tape line is lowered from the highest safe position the climber. Sometimes it is actually possible to touch the highest living leaves by hand, or by a carefully measured stick. However, if the top is dead or dangerously decayed, the topmost point of the tree is measured by laser. Tree volume is measured by climbing the tree and wrapping a tapeline around the trunk at regular intervals as you descend, effectively dividing the tree into sections. The volume of these trunk sections are then added together to calculate the total volume of the tree.

Another great aspect of climbing a giant is that you can get up close to some of the amazing features that these ancient trees possess. For example on the tree Swearing Bobs Beast, there was a large fern mat and a small bonsai sassafras tree growing in an enormous fork 20m above the ground. Also on the Hopetoun Link Hulk, the trunk had become so huge that it did not sway in the wind. This had allowed two large branches to become fused 35m up. Not surprisingly, wildlife is never far away once you leave the ground and enter the canopy. On various trees we have come across greater gliders, brush and ringtail possums and many birds who often noisily express their surprise at finding pesky humans nosing about in their domain. While climbing a giant tree is not for everyone, it’s certainly a great way to pay homage to our largest living things.

Brett Mifsud, April 2011

Garden Fork

 

Hopetoun Link Hulk, fused branch

Giant Eucalypts found in Europe

Category: General

Giant eucalypt tree founds in Europe!

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david.mannes@forestrytas.com.au www.gianttreestas.com.au