Tag Archives: old growth forests

Trees co-operating with themselves to create completely connected and supportive communication systems

I will be heading out into the wilds of the Tasmanian bush later this year when I walk near the more inhospitable edges of the Derwent River through old-growth forests; I will be walking away from any tracks and be remote from civilisation.

On this basis, it was with interest I read the article at http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/05/20/4236600.htm. New research about underground communication has extended 30 year old research which introduced the practice of above ground communication between plants in forests.  There is talk of ‘mother’ trees.

Some readers might consider this is a crack pot viewpoint that has come out of the inclinations of green politics with which they don’t agree.  So I checked who the researchers were, their affiliations were and whether any funding might be seen to skew their research findings.

Leading this research is an academic at the University of British Colombia, Professor/Dr Suzanne Simard who works in the Faculty of Forestry.  Her research is grant funded by a neutral body, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada – so that the research findings are not created to support any organisation which wants a particular outcome.  At her university, Simard leads Terre WEB (the Terrestrial Research on Ecosystem & World-wide Education and Broadcast project) a Masters and PhD degree level training program that focuses on effective communication of global change research.

You can watch and listen to Suzanne talking in a video as she walks in a forest: go to http://www.ecology.com/2012/10/08/trees-communicate/.  She offers a simple but extraordinary explanation of the process.  Takes less than 5 minutes to watch.

Paper making mill on the Derwent River

The tiny settlement of Sorell Creek has a perfect view of the Norske Skog newsprint manufacturing mill across the Derwent River at Boyer.  The business website is located at http://www.norskeskog.com/Business-units/Australasia/Norske-Skog-Boyer.aspx

Since the 1940s this mill, along with others dotted around the state, has been a mainstay of the Tasmania’s economy.  Tasmania has been a land of old growth forests which, since European settlement, have gradually been reduced for farming, town and city growth and for the establishment of newer plantation forests.  Norske Skog only uses the wood from plantation forests and in this way protects the remaining ‘original’ forests and wilderness of Tasmania.

You can read more about the history of this plant at http://www.vantagepaper.com.au/BoyerHistory.aspx.

During the Stage 14 walk, I approached the mill during the latter part of the morning until I stood looking across the Derwent River at it. From then on, the mill gradually disappeared from view as I wound around walking paths along the curving Derwent River.

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Along the way, I passed many more spectacular poplar trees with their golden leaves.