baumzaehlen - Primeval Forests & Their Trees

©2017copyright christoph hase

Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Tasmania, Australia

 

The park is large, 4463 km², and forms a part of the contiguous Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site (13 800 km²). However, most of the park is either not forested or forests are low due to low soil fertility1. The tallest forests are located at the eastern edge of the park where lofty Opens internal link in current windowEucalyptus regnans (mountain ash), Opens internal link in current windowE. delegatensis (alpine ash) and Opens internal link in current windowE. obliqua (messmate stringybark) form an emergent layer over dense lower canopy of "rainforest trees" Opens internal link in current windowNothofagus cunninghamii (myrtle beech) and Opens internal link in current windowAtherosperma moschatum (southern sassafras), the tallest measured tree being 86 metres (E. obliqua)2. Opens internal link in current windowDicksonia antarctica (soft tree fern) is very characteristic. The Australian definition of "rainforest" differs from that in other countries: Certain tree genera are considered “rainforest trees” and others (like Eucalyptus) “sclerophyll trees”. Thus, a forest consisting of “rainforest trees” is rainforest even if it grows in a dry climate (e.g. in hot north Australia where in places annual rainfall is less than 300 mm 3), and a forest consisting of “sclerophyll trees” is not rainforest even if it grows in a very wet climate.4 If Australian botanists were let loose in the northern hemisphere, they would probably classify Fagus (beech) and Quercus (oak) forests as rainforests5. Forest with Eucalyptus spp. growing over “rainforest” is called “mixed forest”4.

 

Most tree species are fairly easy to identify but you may have difficulties distinguishing between E. delegatensis and E. obliqua, for example.

 

There are marked trails mostly at the edges of the park, but hiking and camping is free off the marked routes as in all of Tasmania´s large national parks. However, walking off-trail in western Tasmania is rather difficult: Opens internal link in current windowAnodopetalum biglandulosum (horizontal) forms almost impenetrable thickets in places, fallen giant eucalypts block the way in tall forests and slopes are often steep. A few places in and around the edges of the park can be reached by bus. For a hike to the tall forests of the east of the park, Wayatinah is a good starting point.

 

References:

 

1       Reid, B., Hill, R., Brown, M. & Hovenden, M. (eds.) 2005: Vegetation of Tasmania. Australian Government, Canberra.

2       www.gianttrees.com.au

3       Bowman (2008): Australian Rainforests, Islands of green in a land of fire. Cambridge University Press.

4       Adam, P. (1992): Australian Rainforests. Oxford University Press.

5       Low, T. (2004): Rainforest: defining the impossible. Nature Australia. Vol. 27, Issue 12.

 

Official site:

 

http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=3937


Solitary Eucalyptus delegatensis (alpine ash) in Atherosperma moschatum (southern sassafras) forest. Also Dicksonia antarctica (soft tree fern).
Dicksonia antarctica (soft tree fern) and Atherosperma moschatum (southern sassafras). Elev. 450 m.
Creek valley filled with fallen trunks. Atherosperma moschatum (southern sassafras), Nothofagus cunninghamii (myrtle beech) and Dicksonia antarctica (soft tree fern). Elev. 380 m.
Leptospermum lanigerum (woolly tea-tree) forest. Also Eucryphia lucida (leatherwood), right foreground, and Nothofagus cunninghamii (myrtle beech), larger tree, centre.
Leptospermum lanigerum (woolly tea-tree, with peeling bark) and Eucryphia lucida (leatherwood). In the centre background, 25 metre E. lucida.
Dicksonia antarctica (soft tree fern) and Eucryphia lucida (leatherwood).
High altitude moor and Eucalyptus woodland. Frenchmans Cap in the background.
Eucalyptus regnans (mountain ash) called Wayatinah Giant. It was severely impacted by fire in 2010 and was noted fallen in 2017.
Solitary large Eucalyptus regnans (mountain ash) in Atherosperma moschatum (southern sassafras) dominated forest.
Eucalyptus delegatensis (alpine ash). Atherosperma moschatum (southern sassafras) foliage, top left. Elev. 550 m.
2 large Eucalyptus delegatensis (alpine ash) trees. Nothofagus cunninghamii (myrtle beech) and Dicksonia antarctica (soft tree fern) foliage. Elev. 550 m.
Eucalyptus amygdalina (black peppermint) canopy. Also Melaleuca squarrosa (scented paperbark), bottom.
Leptospermum lanigerum (woolly tea-tree).