Talking Trees

A Blog by John Halkett

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More trees – you will feel better

Couple walking dog in forest

As if being renewable, storing carbon and contributing to climate change mitigation isn’t enough – trees make you feel better – true! It’s not stretching the point to say your health and well-being are likely to be improved if you walk amongst the trees.

Increasing urbanisation means that people have less access to nature in their daily lives. Australians on average now spend about 90 per cent of their time indoors. This coincides with reports of increasing obesity and nearly half of Australians

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New Zealand’s oldest exotic tree still going strong

Williams good Christian venerable old pear tree.

Just before launching into this month’s column I want to express my appreciation to the Forestry Corporation of NSW for agreeing to continue to support and sponsor this column in 2019. So thanks to chief executive Nick Roberts and staff.

Right, well thinking of exotic trees in a New Zealand forestry context radiata pine immediately springs to mind. However, the country’s oldest exotic tree, a Williams good Christian pear tree near Kerikeri in Northland, is still going strong as it enters its

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They speak a language that the strangers do not know

Umbrella thorn acacia trees pump toxic substances into their leaves to rid themselves of browsing giraffes.

This blog begs the question do trees talk? Or perhaps more specifically do they communicate with each other? According to the dictionary definition, language is what people use when we talk to each other. Looked at this way, humans are the only beings who can use language, because the concept is limited to our species. But do trees communicate with each other? If so how, they definitely do not produce sounds, so there’s nothing to hear. It turns out trees have a completely different way of

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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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