Tasmania’s bushfires could change this beautiful state forever…

180 million years ago, when Australia was just one small part of the gigantic supercontinent Gondwanaland, the beautiful king billy
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180 million years ago, when Australia was just one small part of the gigantic supercontinent Gondwanaland, the beautiful king billy and pencil pines were commonplace.

Now they only exist in Tasmania, where trees more than 1,000 years old stand proudly preserved for the world to admire. But this could change in a matter of days.

According to The Guardianthe bushfires currently raging through Tasmania’s world heritage forests – which it has declared a “global tragedy” – could soon wipe out this precious link to Earth’s natural history forever.

Australia’s eucalyptus forests thrive in the long term thanks to fire. However, these older species have not evolved to adapt; burning today could mean extinction tomorrow.

Professor David Bowman from the University of Tasmania, an expert in environmental change, told The Guardian that events like this were very rare.

“It’s killing trees that are over 1,000 years old,” he said. “It’s burning up soil that takes over 1,000 years to accumulate”.

“We just have to accept that we’ve crossed a threshold, I suspect. This is what climate change looks like”.

Yesterday’s storms have only made matters worse for Tasmanians. The ABC reports that lighting strikes have sparked more than a dozen brand new blazes, stretching already-overworked firefighters even more thinly.

This is drastically different to enormous Goblin River fire that swept through Tasmania in 2013. Rather than one big blaze set by lightning, firefighters are facing a large number of extremely unpredictable smaller blazes, placing even seasoned veterans of the service on edge.

Writing for The Conversation, Professor Bowman said that “serious thought” is needed about moving these threatened species into “artificially protected environments, such as botanical gardens”.

“In the worse case scenario moving some species to sub-Antarctic island may not be far-fetched”.

“More fundamentally, the loss of vegetation that takes thousands of years to recover from disturbance is a warning shot that climate change has the potential to result in bushfires that will impact food security, water quality and critical infrastructure”.

Do you hold Tasmania close to your heart? How do you feel seeing such incredible and ancient beauty destroyed so quickly?

  1. Petra Harris

    Those fire will also regenerate the land. Some of the trees will be lost but after a fire the earth will be refreshed. That is why the aboriginies have done it for thousands of years. As well if people who chose to live in the bush did the same backburning before the heat of summer there would probably be less homes lost.

    • Don Walker

      Dianne Evans Yoy are very wrong, gum trees are reknown for their ability to regenerate aftyer a bush fire, in fact a bushfire helps them to regenerate to a stronger plant and genetically better to withstand the australian climate.

    • Michele Orban

      Don Walker, agree – there are gum trees that come back stronger after a bushfire is true; it does not apply to these ancient 1000 year old trees. When gone, gone forever

  2. Petra Harris

    Those fire will also regenerate the land. Some of the trees will be lost but after a fire the earth will be refreshed. That is why the aboriginies have done it for thousands of years. As well if people who chose to live in the bush did the same backburning before the heat of summer there would probably be less homes lost.

    • Don Walker

      Dianne Evans Yoy are very wrong, gum trees are reknown for their ability to regenerate aftyer a bush fire, in fact a bushfire helps them to regenerate to a stronger plant and genetically better to withstand the australian climate.

    • Michele Orban

      Don Walker, agree – there are gum trees that come back stronger after a bushfire is true; it does not apply to these ancient 1000 year old trees. When gone, gone forever

    • Nicki Davison  

      You are right Dianne Evans, the pencil pines will not regenerate like gums.

    • Don Walker

      Michele Orban Thats why they are 1000 years old, because they do regenerate after a bush fire.

    • Merran Heather Brown

      Don Walker Professor David Bowman from the University of Tasmania stated the 1000 yr old trees will be killed. Are you disputing that? Did you read the article?

    • Marlene Baker

      This forest does not regenerate. I remember reading a textbook that said indigenous people actually changed the types of forest by burning.

    • Sue Lovell

      Sorry Don..you need to read the article…some of these trees are NOT gums,and will NOT regenerate.

    • Eileen Larpent

      Don Walker I don’t think you read Dianne Evans post correctly, I’m sure she meant the gums regenerate, but the ancient trees don’t.

    • Eileen Larpent

      Sometimes you’re not allowed to clear around your property, let alone do hazard reduction burning.

    • Maxine Hawking

      Greens have put an end to back burning in most states. This I feel is a criminal act. The back burning is a necessary part of the Aussie country.

  3. Kath Loughlin

    Really ,sad ,hard too think off that ,when we are soo cold . Scotland bitter cold .TAKE CARE xx

  4. Kath Loughlin

    Really ,sad ,hard too think off that ,when we are soo cold . Scotland bitter cold .TAKE CARE xx

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