Talking Trees

A Blog by John Halkett

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False beeches still evoke tales of Gondwanaland and exploration

New Zealand beech forest.

Southern beeches, or Nothofagus, are a genus of 43 species of trees and shrubs native to the Southern Hemisphere and found in southern South America, southeast Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and New Caledonia. They are sometimes dominant in temperate forests in these regions, and were once a feature of coastal regions of Antarctica. Although separated by 10,000 kilometres of Pacific Ocean from eastern Australia and New Zealand, southern beech occurs along the west coast and

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Araucaria trees feature of Paris of the South

Distinctive umbrella form, mature Araucaria araucana trees a feature of the streets of Buenos Aires.

Driving around the streets of Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina, as you do, it is easy to see why it is call the Paris of the South. Wide boulevards, extensive parklike gardens, and heaps of statues. Striking and so South American are the frequent mature Araucaria trees. A distinguishing feature of many South American landscapes is the Araucaria araucana trees, commonly called monkey puzzles, or Chilean pines. An evergreen tree native to central and southern Chile and

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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

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Antarctica forests

John in Antarctica that may in fact have once hosted forests.

Just back from southern South America and Antarctica having a firsthand look at climate change impacts. With a surface area in excess of 14 million square kilometres Antarctica is larger than Europe, and almost twice the size of Australia. As much as 98 per cent of the continent’s surface is covered in thick, compacted ice, reaching an average depth of over a two kilometres. Recent scientific discoveries suggest that this ‘forgotten continent’ – sometimes nicknamed the Great

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Jungle trees and Pope Francis

Fig (Ficus spp.) tree in front of a Catholic church.

Recently been working in Peru where there is much excitement about the upcoming visit by Pope Francis in this almost universally Catholic country. Also of course Peru is famed as Amazon jungle country. Peru is the fourth largest tropical forest country on the planet. Half of Peru’s land base is classified as forest, the vast majority of which is in the Amazon basin. Its Amazon forests are one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. Deforestation in Peru has traditionally been very low

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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

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Singapore’s concrete and steel Supertrees

Singapore’s 18 Supertrees have become shorthand for Singapore itself, in much the same way that the Eiffel Tower says Paris.

Known for doing things on a grand scale, the stylish city of Singapore has created the ultimate green space, but with a difference. Its city forest, built from concrete and steel is nonetheless a celebration of trees, and now the city’s distinguishing tourist attraction. The city’s futuristic Supertree Grove of 18 Supertrees has become shorthand for Singapore itself, in much the same way that the Eiffel Tower says Paris. Each Supertree consists of a trunk

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Red gums sentinels to First Fleet arrival

Red-gum

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

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Sydney’s Wishing Tree

The Wishing tree, Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, about 1880: Probably the most notable tree to have grown in the Gardens.

Sydney’s Botanic Gardens are an important part of Australia’s tree heritage and Australia’s oldest scientific institution. Established during the reign of King George III, the Gardens were granted the royal epithet in 1959 by his great-great-great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II. The gardens are an important part of Australia’s tree heritage. The botanic gardens are the site of the first farm which was began within weeks of the establishment of the colony of New South

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Baobab trees – upside-down giants

Boabab Tree

Among the world’s most unusual trees, the baobabs are frequently described as being grotesque because of their huge, swollen, bottle-shaped trunks supporting a shallow crown of ungainly branches.

Standing tall on the sunburned plains of Africa and Australia, baobabs may be amongst the oldest life forms on the planet. Many of the specimens standing today have been around for well over two thousand years. Tremendous in size and bizarre in appearance, they have provided food, medicine, and

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