Talking Trees

A Blog by John Halkett

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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

read more

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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Uncrowned king of trees

3000 year old olive tree … foremost tree in early human culture and commerce.

Among the foremost trees in early human culture and commerce was the olive. From the dawn of recorded history the olive has enjoyed a status and prestige not shared by any other plant. Although many of the events in the early story of the olive are shrouded in mystery, the tree has been feted as the precursor to modern civilization.

It was the olive tree that was acknowledged as ‘the first of trees’. In the Bible’s book of Judges, Chapter 9, Verse 8 is written: “The trees went

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Big Victorian mountain ash tree in Nelson

The impressive mountain ash forests of Victoria are for height, size and grandeur, unequalled among the world’s hardwood trees.

Went to Nelson at the top end of New Zealand’s South Island recently to visit my brother Lawrie. While there we hunted out the locally well-known Barrington Gum. It’s an Australian mountain ash (Eucalyptus regans) thought to have been planted on then open farm land about 1860. It is now embedded within a radiata pine plantation. The tree was officially measured in 2009 and at that time had a height of 72.1 metres and a diameter of 2.4 metres. The tree is listed in the New Zealand

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