Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dead Tree

Here's a picture of a dead tree clinging to the side of an embankment. It looks as if it was hit by a bushfire in times past. Usually the Australian native trees grow shoots in a Lazarus like way after a bushfire. This one didn't quite make it!

The bushfires actually assist in the propagating of new growth on most Aussie trees. Some varieties of seeds don't germinate unless they have been heated, others don't germinate unless there is ash present in the soil. Aboriginals in times past used controlled burning to assist the environment from a long term perspective which it has taken Europeans 200 years to catch on to. Controlled burns now take place in winter to reduce undergrowth (fuel) buildup.

James Cook's ship journals in around 1770 described Australia as "The great burning continent" when he sailed southward.


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