A Blog by John Halkett

Category: Wood (Page 1 of 2)

The red cedars of Neverland

Peter McAra standing next to ared cedar trees

Recently I was fortunate to have had a tree adventure in Neverland, where I was privileged to spend some time with Peter Pan and Wendy. True! Neverland is a property in the Illawarra region of NSW, and is the home of Peter and Wendy McAra, better known as Peter Pan and Wendy.

They are both distinguished retired academics, and although you wouldn’t think so to look at him Peter is also a much celebrated author of numerous romantic novels and stage plays. But in addition to these interests, read more

When it’s cold the tough get going

Siberian larch – boreal forest.

The realm of the Siberian larch.

The largest forested region on the planet is the boreal coniferous tract, which accounts for about a third of the Earth’s total forest cover and dwarfs tropical rainforests. Boreal forests blanket a swathe around the Arctic Circle, across Alaska and into northern Canada. They cover about eight million square kilometres of Siberia alone, where they are known as the taiga. Vast amounts of carbon are lock up there, with so much biomass that worldwide levels of read more

From tepees to a mainstay of Canada’s timber industry

Lodgepine forest

Lodgepole pine is a coniferous linchpin of forest ecosystems across a vast area that encompasses the western Canadian province of British Columbia and runs down the Rocky Mountains into the United States of America. It is a highly adaptable tree that can grow in all sorts of environments, from water-logged bogs to dry sandy soils.

Tall, straight and slender, it takes its name from the use of Canada’s first people for tepees, and by subsequent settlers for the construction of buildings. Also, read more

From primitive rafts to speedy bombers

Bulsa Plantation

The world’s lightest hardwood continues to be widely grown. Balsa (Ochroma pyramidale) is a large, fast-growing tree native from southern Mexico to southern Brazil, but can now be found in many other countries, including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Solomon Islands.

Balsa trees can establish themselves in forest clearings or on abandoned agricultural fields and grow extremely rapidly. Their speed of growth accounts for the lightness of the wood, which has a lower density read more

Rubber … from the Spanish Court to pneumatic tyres

Tapping a rubber tree

Rubber trees (Hevea bransiliensis) are tall deciduous trees growing to a height of up to 45 metres in the wild, but cultivated trees are usually much smaller because drawing off latex restricts growth. The inner bark oozes latex when damaged.

Native to the Amazon and Orinoco river basins of Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, rubber trees where originally called caoutchouc, from the indigenous cauchy, or ‘weeping wood’. The rubber tree is a member of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family. Its read more

New Book Now Available

Book Cover

My sixth book: By the light of the Sun: Trees, wood, photosynthesis and climate change has now been published. The mission of this book is to detail how to better harness the power of the products of photosynthesis to offset adverse climate change. Specifically this book asserts that trees and forests, plus wood products, will be even more important in assisting to tackle climate change, and in contributing to a sustainable energy and carbon neutral future.
This book details how read more

By the light of the sun

Cover Images of trees

This is a bit of advanced warning about my new book soon to be published. By the light of the Sun: Trees, wood, photosynthesis and climate change is about how, through the miracle of photosynthesis trees and wood, can confront climate change.
The aim of this upcoming book is to detail how to better harness the power of the products of photosynthesis to offset adverse climate change. Specifically this book asserts that trees and forests, plus wood products, will be even more important read more

Red gums sentinels to First Fleet arrival

The only surviving eucalypts from the natural forest in the garden are two twin red gums perched up on the cliff behind the Opera House on the Bennelong lawn. No doubt they were mere saplings in 1788 when the 11 tall, wooden ships of the First Fleet arrived in Sydney. Incredibly, this Bennelong twins alone have survived so close to the city. Referring to them, Ashley Hay (Gum, 2002 Duffy & Snellgrove, Potts Point, NSW, Australia.) wrote:

The view from [its] crown began to change from the read more

Chinese paulownia trees in Australia

Paulownia plantation, Richmond, NSW

Paulownia is a deciduous hardwood tree native to parts of Asia, notably China, and is well known for its vigorous growth and capacity to be grown over short rotations. Its timber is noted for its workability and outstanding strength to weight ratio.
Paulownia timber is light in colour, with a gradual transition from sapwood to heartwood. The timber has a low density (260-350 kilograms per cubic metre, at 15 percent moisture content). It is a straight grained, soft timber which is easy read more

Jungle book now available

Dr Lyndall Bull, director, Forestry Tasmania, and Cr Christine Sindt, Latrobe City, Victoria, congratulate John Halkett at the book launch at the Melbourne Outlook and Insights Conference.

Billed as the Book of the Month for September Jungle Jive: Sustaining the forests of Southeast Asia takes a constructive look at jungle conservation, arguing that implementing economic measures that value jungle trees is the way to sustain them and their biological values. The central thesis of the book is the need to inject a dose of economic realism into a subject that has been long on superlatives and emotion, but short on commercial reality.
The book sets out an argument for that in read more

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