How old is this Strathbogie forest giant?

Messmate Stringybark, Eucalyptus obliqua.

Messmate Stringybark (Eucalyptus obliqua) south side of tree.

200 years old, 300 years old, more? It’s hard to say, but these trees have been around a long time and deserve to grow old gracefully. And though this forest has been logged for more than a century (note the young trees surrounding the giant), logging up until a few decades ago was sensitive enough to allow quite a few of these forest giants to survive; but their days may be numbered. In the harsh world of modern, industrial logging, there seems little room for grand trees like this one.DSCF0449

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North side of tree.

With a diameter-at-breast-height of 2.45 m and perhaps 45 m in height, this is certainly one of the bigger trees in the forest, but when all the smaller trees around it are logged, as will probably happen in the next years and then the coupe put to the match for the ‘regeneration burn’, it’s questionable whether this giant will survive. And if it survives the logging and the fire, will it survive exposure to the fierce, cold winds that blow through these ranges?

Should we care? These big, old trees certainly provide habitat and resources that take hundreds of years to develop and no amount of young trees and artificial hollows can replace them. If we want Powerful Owls and Yellow-bellied Gliders, for example, to survive, then we’ve got to look after these trees – there’s no two ways about it. But they have value far beyond the animals that rely on them for survival – for one thing, once they are gone, not even our grand-children will live long enough to see them replaced.

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The hollow base extends about 6 m up and shows evidence of fire sometime in the past.

The hollow base extends about 6 m up and shows evidence of fire sometime in the past.

3 responses to “How old is this Strathbogie forest giant?

  1. Bert what a great photo of this tree the stories that it could tell us what a terrible shame that it has stood the test of time and modern machines can wipe out so much it such a short time. Anne Date: Sun, 23 Mar 2014 21:33:07 +0000 To: simpsonsfarm@bigpond.com

  2. Anna Foley, National Trust

    Hello, I found your blog after Ian Lunt shared it on Twitter this evening.
    This is a beautiful specimen, would you consider nominating it to the National Trust’s Register of Significant Trees?
    You can e-mail trust.trees@nattrust.com.au or visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.au/vic/heritage-register if you’d like to know more. Thanks for sharing your pictures of the Strathbogies.
    Anna

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