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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Inspiration from the UK

Earlier posts began presenting a definition for 'veteran trees' the following video from the Woodland Trust provides both additional examples of veteran characteristics to look out for, but more importantly the images of the Ancient Oak tree are inspirational to me...

Now we have some magnificent veteran trees that are well on the way to developing the type of grandeur displayed by that ancient oak........

It can take 400yrs to reach the status of ancient,

and less than 30 mins to be completely destroyed....once you know how to manage veteran trees...

 it takes less than 5 minutes to preserve such unique trees deciding from a range of management options which ones best fit the specific situation for any individual tree.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Finding Veteran Trees from your armchair….

Google Earth is a quite amazing tool, it has been used by researchers to identify regions of the world worth closer investigation on the ground leading to some truly remarkable discoveries

Well it is no different when it comes to finding likely canopy shapes for some species of veteran trees that with age develop very large spreading canopy forms…figs in particular.

Here is a Google shot of a tree that really does stand out dramatically, not least because of the open paddock it is in….

Now it is not clear from this view if this is one tree or two or shadows or something else...a closer look

We can now see that it seems to be a single tree, but this shot also lets us compare its canopy to other trees nearby and the width of the roadway. 

Now clearly this process is really only useful if you are wanting to find trees with big canopies, and trees that are relatively isolated from other adjacent is in other words somewhat limited in its usefulness...however it has enabled me to find some quite remarkable figs in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

What does the tree in the Google actually look like?  Well it will be the subject of quite a few posts but here is a teaser of her magnificence...

Friday, October 9, 2009

You might pass a veteran tree everyday

Here is a veteran tree that a great many of us, thousands in fact pass everyday

This Silky oak - Grevillea robusta is a good representative of the the creek line (riparian) species that would have been very common in this region of the Gold Coast. There are only a small number of Silky oaks of this age and size remaining amidst the increasing spread of urban development.

The resiliance of this tree is incredible, in the face of major health impacts, roads on both sides inside the dripline of what is a fairly narrow canopy. The Nerang - Broadbeach road (dual carriageway) is constructed on a steep embankment (to satisfy Q100 requirements probably)....there is 2m of highly compacted roadbase over approx 40% of the rootplate of this tree!

As if that were not enough there is another smaller road on the other side of the tree stem, constructed almost at grade....which basically means a very large volume of soil and root mass would have been excavated and replaced with compacted road base.

This tree is an incredible survivor!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Whatever you call them why do they matter?

Veteran trees are special in many different ways, sometimes it is their size or shape that makes them stand out so very clearly from other trees around them.

Some trees were important markers for the people living in that area, or region....Veteran trees that predate white settlement are probably very rare indeed, just how many pre-settlement trees remain is unknown, and one of the important tasks ahead of us is to begin the process of collecting information on just what is out there.

Given the level of urban development that has occurred throughout the coastal fringe along the eastern seaboard of Australia it is amazing that any remnant vegetation remains at all let alone any that actuallly have attained an age to justify holding the label veteran.

Aborigonal Australians rightfully lay claim to a special attachment and link to the land, to country.

It is however also very true that a great many of the people who have travelled across the globe to live here in Australia have also forged a real and tangible link to this land.

Trees have from an early stage played an important role in the creation of place for all of us, whether they have by a mix of chance and design been retained in the transforming landscape, or whether they have been deliberately planted for fodder, shelter, fuel and the same combination of numerous benefits that they still provide to us today....

The orignal homesteads may have long since decayed and crumbled, or more likely been swept aside before the pressures of urban expansion....but some of these sentinels remain defiant reminders of what and who went before.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What is a Veteran Tree, why not call them Ancient trees?

The following general descriptions come from the Ancient Tree Forum The Ancient Tree Forum

There is no precise definition of either an Ancient or Veteran tree, however it is generally accepted that an Ancient Trees are:
  • Trees that are of interest biologically, aesthetically or culturally because of their age 
  • Trees in the ancient stage of their lives (based on the limits of knowledge we might have for both any tree's age and the expected life span of that particular species)
  • Trees that are old relative to others of the same species
A Veteran tree has a slightly broader definition, but the distinction is really quite subjective and the terms are often interchangeable.

A veteran tree can be defined as "a tree that is of interest biologically, culturally and aesthetically because of its age, size or condition"

A veteran tree is a survivor that has developed some of the features found on an ancient tree, not necessarily as a consequence of time, but of its life or environment.

Some trees are instantly recognisable as veterans but others are less obvious.

Some trees experience events around them that in effect 'veteranise' them, fire and storms in Australia are often just such events.

Veteran trees do not have to be the biggest trees in the area, indeed it is often the case that as trees move further into the last third of their life span that they begin the process of canopy retrenchment...again something that can be accelerated by external factors.

Ancient veterans are ancient trees, not all veterans are old enough to be ancient. A veteran may be a young tree with a relatively small girth in contrast to an ancient tree, but bearing the ‘scars’ of age such as decay in the trunk, branches or roots, fungal fruiting bodies, or dead wood.