Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A tale of contrasts

After the fires this could have been us, but the Source has spared us for another day. The worst apocalyptic areas are the pine forests, the native forest often still stands and has the ability to regenerate.

In the last 6 weeks the vege/culinary herb garden has gone ballistic, sunflowers, chicory and amaranth already 2 feet high, strawberries fruiting up, cherry tomatoes yummy, miles of silverbeet, lots of basil, and I am the proud father of my first ginseng berries!

Whilst touring round beautiful Tasmania over the last few weeks, it is patently obvious that most of the old growth trees have disappeared, every where I stepped were the scars of 200 years of unmitigated logging. Today for the benefit of our unnecessary photocopiers, log trucks still roll by in the hundreds per day with Eucalypt tree's of 6 foot or more in diameter out of Tassies forests.

The Mt Field National Park near Hobart holds remnants of Tasmania's remaining Eucalyptus regnans, the giant swamp gum. Standing under these giants is awe inspiring, these are the largest flowering tree's in the world, second only to the Californian redwood pines in height overall. In a prime example of short sighted policy, in 1950 the then government took back 1500 acres of these trees in the National Park by an Act of Parliament to allow them to be logged for paper pulp, such are the riches of these giant trees to industry. Today only 13000 hectares, of an estimated original 100000 hectares of these giant swamp gum eucalypts' remain in the world.

In the beautiful Mt Field national park is written this passage that spoke prophetically to my sense of our present day world:

Over 200 years ago, when French explorer Bruni D'Entrecasteaux first saw this island (Tasmania) in 1792 it was the forests which impressed him. He wrote of...

"..trees of an immense height and proportionate diameter, their branchless trunks covered with evergreen foliage, some looking as old as the world;

"closely interlacing in an almost impenetrable forest, they served to support others which, crumbling with age, fertilised the soil with their debris;

"nature in all her vigour, and yet in a state of decay, seems to offer to the imagination something more picturesque and more imposing than the sight of this same nature bedecked by the hand of 'civilised' man.

"Wishing only to preserve her beauties we destroy her charm, we rob her of that power which is hers alone, the secret of preserving in eternal age eternal youth."

As trees (that no longer exist) provided the water evaporation and carbon sinks for the planet its no surprise that the world is in drought...self sufficiency for food production may be a better way....

For those interested this is an excellent and sobering account of a states ecological short sightedness.

Tasmania's Wilderness Battles
A history - Greg Buckman

Others are taking nice pics of the Strzelecki's too, go here and search under strzelecki


  1. The short-sightedness you spoke of seems to have happened all over the world ... and in many cases is still happening. Unfortunately, greed seems to trump common sense and sustainability. Today we are feeling the sad consequences of such actions.

    Wonderful post!

    Small Footprints

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