A Blog by John Halkett

Month: February 2017

Kauri and monkey puzzle tree

I have always had a soft spot for Agathis trees. This magnificent planted Queensland kauri (Agathis robusta) is adjacent to the beach on eastern Sydney where I occasionally go for a quick swim before work. It has to be well over a hundred years old – perhaps two hundred.
Together Agathis and Araucaria form the Southern Hemisphere conifer family of trees Araucariaceae. Agathis – a genus of thirteen species is generally known as kauri, after the Maori name for the New Zealand species Agathis australis.
Although the genus extends as far south as the warm temperate forests of northern New Zealand, … Read more “Kauri and monkey puzzle tree”

Boreal forests – it’s cold up there

Boreal forests are one of the planet’s great ecosystems. Boreal (meaning northern – they are called taiga in Russia) forest occupies the northern sub arctic zone up beyond about latitude 50 encircling the Earth at the top of the Northern Hemisphere across Russia, Scandinavia, Alaska and Canada. The boreal forest belt represents the world’s largest land-based ecosystem and act as part of the largest source and filter of freshwater on the planet.
Temperatures in these boreal forests are usually extremely low with long winter seasons. The soil freezes – only thawing for a few months in the farthest… Read more “Boreal forests – it’s cold up there”

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