Why is it taking so long to revere our prehistoric rainforests from Gondwana times?

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Some of Australia's rainforest trees evolved over 200 million years ago and are still thriving today in our botanic gardens and our prehistoric forests.

Local forms of Araucaria, Wollemia sp., Nothofagus, Podocarpus, Gingko and Ferns thrived before the age of dinosaurs, before the continents split.

These forests dominated today's map of Australia along the Great Dividing Range, but in the last 200 years have been reduced to less than 1% of our map.

Some of these forests, such as the Daintree, are the oldest tropical rainforests on earth. Others, like those in Tasmania and behind the Gold Coast, are so precious that they are World Heritage listed.

Victorian forests are home to the tallest trees in the world; the Mountain Ash provides protection for tree ferns that evolved before trees produced lignin to stand tall.

But why Australians put such little value in visiting and preserving these sites is a mystery. Just behind the Gold Coast, at Mt Lamington and Mt Warning, are towering specimens of precious trees like Black Booyong and Queensland Box, the visual equals of gigantic Californian Redwoods, and yet of the 12 million visitors to the Gold Coast per year, less than one person in a hundred visits this World Heritage listed area.

Trees worth more alive than dead!

Up until recently, wood chipper Gunn's turned Tasmanian old growth forests, containing ecosystems 500 years old, into packaging materials just for the profit of its' shareholders.

Is there any greater environmental vandalism than that?

I have walked through Cradle Mountain over 30 times, and have met more hikers from Germany and the Nordic countries than Australians.

Why is it taking so long for Australians to revere our incredible inheritance?

Climate change threatens Tasmania's forests

Last year a long dry spell in northern Tasmania was broken by electrical storms that ignited ancient Gondwana King Billy (Athrotaxis selanginoides) and Pencil Pines that live for 500-800 years.

A drier and warming climate has left these cold-climate trees vulnerable to fire for the first time.

The recent revival of interest in the rediscovered living coniferous fossil Wollemia sp. backfired because its promotion was deceptive for a tree with such a narrow planting range and uncertain transplant history.

That mistake can't happen to our other rainforest treasures because our botanic gardens have established magnificent specimens to guide our selections after 150 years of growing success.

Relatively recently, in the last 25 million years, our mainland climate has dried and fire dependant grasses and eucalypts have spread into areas that were once the domain of our rainforest ancestors.

It is an unequal battle because although our rainforest trees, in general, have drought-tolerance, they are no match for the flammability of grass and Eucalypts.

But the revival of interest in planting native trees from our drier plains (usually Eucalypts, Melaleucas and Callistemon), for some unexplained reason, ignored our beautiful rainforest treasures.

Being so much older in origin, these survivors make far better shade trees, retain more soil moisture and are just as drought-tolerant, while also preventing the spread of bushfires and saving lives.

Reviving our precious inheritance by planting

We can reverse the balance by re-establishing the toughest evergreen trees in our gardens, our parks and along our coastlines.

We have been visiting our botanic gardens in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane for over 25 years, where the world's finest 100 -150 year old specimens are thriving under cultivation, proving our selections have been successful throughout our dry and humid summers.

All of these rainforest trees make outstanding shade trees for our boulevards (White Cedar, Hills Fig, Flame Tree), for large gardens (Black Booyong, Red Cedar, Weeping Lilly Pilly, Bunya Pine) and for backyards (Frangipani Tree, Cook's ‘Gondwana’ Pine, Hills Fig).

Clive Blazey (15 May 2017)

Sign up for our email newsletter

FREE 2016 SEED Annual

Email info@diggers.com.au to request a free copy of our 2016 Seed Catalogue. Just remember to include your name and address. Help us preserve heirloom varieties by growing them in your garden. 

More

"Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller caused cancer"court says

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

‘The Good Life’ … the birth of Diggers

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

10 things to do in the garden this long weekend whilst everyone else is watching the Cup!

By The Diggers Team

Becoming a ‘hands-on’ gardener again

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Botanica Europe - French and English Garden Tour

By Talei Kenyon

Botanica New Zealand garden Tour

By Jill Woodlands

Fathers Day Competition Winners

By The Diggers Club

Free air conditioners in our gardens

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Grow a Garden - Your New Years resolution for 2017

By The Diggers Team

Grow Your Own From Seeds Corporates Don't Own

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Having someone else grow our food is going to kill us!

A century ago only about 10% of us had sedentary jobs but today that figure has risen to 90%.

How did your garden look this summer?

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

How science ruined tomatoes

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Humus, humility and climate change

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

In The Garden - Highlights at Cloudehill in December

By Jeremy Francis, Cloudehill's owner and creator.

In The Garden - Highlights at Cloudehill in November

By Jeremy Francis, Cloudehill's owner and creator.

In The Garden - Highlights at Heronswood in August

By Robyn Fox, Heronswood's Kitchen Gardener

In The Garden - Highlights at Heronswood in September

By Robyn Fox, Heronswood's Kitchen Gardener

In The Garden - Highlights at St Erth in April

By Tina Thanos, St Erth's kitchen gardener

In The Garden - Highlights at St Erth in August

By Tina Thanos, St Erth's kitchen gardener

In The Garden - Highlights at St Erth in May

By Tina Thanos, St Erth's kitchen gardener

In The Garden - Highlights at St Erth in September

By Tina Thanos, St Erth's kitchen gardener

Is gardening the secret to a long and healthy life?

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Is Gardens by the Bay in Singapore the world’s most interesting garden?

Is Gardens by the Bay in Singapore the world’s most interesting garden?

Let’s pretend we believe in climate change, but not at the expense of GDP

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club.

Monsanto’s DDT was banned in Australia in 1987. When will Monsanto’s Roundup be banned?

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Our gardening missteps

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Plants as Lovers

Many of us gardeners are obsessive plant compulsives – we can’t take our minds off them.

Should hydroponically grown food carry an ARTIFICIALLY GROWN label?

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Summer Gardens at Cloudehill

By Jeremy Francis, Owner and Creator of Cloudehill

Teach your children well

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Thanks for 40 years of valuable support for Diggers

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

The best things in life are free

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

The corporatisation of our food supply

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

The potential collapse of organic gardening in Australia

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

We have been fighting Monsanto for 20 years

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Welcome to the university for self-taught gardeners

We gardeners are a critical lot and are very hard to please.

WHAT’S ON - OCTOBER

WHAT’S ON – STAND OUT GARDEN EVENTS AROUND AUSTRALIA

Where does your gardening inspiration come from?

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Why a plant based diet leads to a longer, healthier life

By Clive Blazey, Founder of The Diggers Club

Related Articles

Cook’s ‘Gondwana’ Pine

Clive Blazey explains why it thrives in gardens of all sizes and in all mainland capital cities

Growing the world’s most expensive pine tree

Preserving a fossil, or setting gardeners up for failure?

Mountain Range farm and Dapto community farm

Lance Carr feeds refugees — body and soul

My best friends are trees

Clive Blazey tells how prodigious tree growth is dependent on fungal mycorrhizae in the soil

The Bunya Pine: a tale as old as time

Marcelle Swanson shares her personal experience of growing up with a Bunya Pine

The National Arboretum of Doom

Peter Marshall, forester, truffle grower and expert on mycorrhizae gives his forthright view

Trees for small backyards

Clive Blazey explains why trees are the most important element in any garden, particularly in small spaces

Related Magazine

Winter Garden 2017

Trees for a small garden plus truffles, roses, nuts and potatoes
Back To Top
Member Exclusives
KITCHEN GARDEN COLLECTION
KITCHEN GARDEN COLLECTION
PLANTS: PCOKG
A collection of must have Digger's herbs for the gardener who loves to cook. Includes one each of Mint, Stevia sugar plant, Rosemary Tuscan Blue, varigated sage, Golden Marjoram, Greek Oregano, Vietnamese Mint, Common and Lemon Thyme. This collection will equip the Digger's gardener with herbs for all cuisines once they step out of the garden an...
Member $49.95
Non-Member $69.95
Checking stock, please wait..
ULTIMATE GARDENERS 2020 GIFT COMBO
ULTIMATE GARDENERS 2020 GIFT COMBO
BOOKS: AUGC
MEMBERS SAVE OVER 50% - Exclusive 2020 Gardener's Combo The ultimate gardener's gift combining Diggers 2020 Harvest Calendar, Perpetual Moon Planting Guide, Companion Planting Poster and our new Companion Planting Seed Collection (containing 8 packets of seeds).
Member $49.95
Checking stock, please wait..
2 year membership & Harvest Calendar
2 year membership & Harvest Calendar
Membership: MNE2B
Special limited time offer! Join for two years and receive a bonus gift of a 2020 Diggers Club Harvest Calendar, plus enjoy access to all the usual member benefits. Give yourself the gift of gardening this Festive Season.
Member $79.00
Non-Member $79.00
Checking stock, please wait..