New sites on giant eucalypts

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KoutaR
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New sites on giant eucalypts

Post by KoutaR » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:38 pm

NTS,

Australian tree measurer Brett Mifsud has put up two new sites on the tall and big eucalypts of Tasmania and Victoria.

The Tasmania site:
http://tasmaniasgianttrees.weebly.com/

The Victoria site:
http://victoriasgianttrees.weebly.com/

Kouta

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Jess Riddle
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Re: New sites on giant eucalypts

Post by Jess Riddle » Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:09 pm

Wow. Those forests really are amazing, and the photographs are great.

The website gives a few hints, but I wonder what site conditions, besides a lack of fire, foster these exceptional Eucalyptus individuals? I'm also curious about the niches occupied by the different large Eucalyptus species.

Thanks for posting.

Jess

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Bart Bouricius
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Re: New sites on giant eucalypts

Post by Bart Bouricius » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:52 pm

I love those images. It is great than people are finally taking seriously the documentation of such incredible trees rather than deciding to measure them, then cutting them down to do that. The only problem is they have not measured the height then, but the length. Of course this is not the only problem, but it is great to see such appreciation and I hope that sites like these will increase the number of conservationists in Australia and Tasmania. I am curious about the diversity of tree species in these areas?

Brett Mifsud
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Re: New sites on giant eucalypts

Post by Brett Mifsud » Mon Feb 25, 2013 4:57 pm

The eucalypts in these areas can get so big for a number of reasons:
1. Long absence of fire (450-500 years between catastophic fire)
2. Deep, relatively fertile loam type soils
3. Reliable rainfall 1000 to 2000mm per annum
4. Very fast growth -E. regnans can get very large very quickly - also tall - 83m tall in 70 years - this tree puts almost no energy into protecting its heartwood - all energy is put into growth (E viminalis, E globulus, E obliqua also can grow very quickly)
5. Usually this competition occurs after a catastrophic fire where millions of seedlings all compete for light and space - only the fastest and strongest survive!

Diversity - In Victoria, where conditions suit it, regnans rules - only in in marginal areas will other species mix with it - E nitens in higher elevations, E cypellocarpa and E obliqua in lower sites, and E viminalis in riparian zones.
In Tasmania, there is often a little more mixing of eucalypt species, however, the best stands of regnans are pure stands - E globulus attains its best size and height when it is associated with regnans. Similarly some of the best E obliqua grows in mixed regnans/ delegatensis/ obliqua forest.

Hope this helps
Brett

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Rand
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Re: New sites on giant eucalypts

Post by Rand » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:45 pm

The linked pages are pretty nice too. The Australia Register of big trees has lots of different species that make for some interesting pictures.

http://www.nationalregisterofbigtrees.c ... allery.php


Bunya pine is particularly odd looking
Bunya.jpg
American chestnut:
Castanea.jpg
And a sense of humor:
c.jpg

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KoutaR
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Re: New sites on giant eucalypts

Post by KoutaR » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:53 pm

Jess, Bart,

Note that there is Brett Mifsud's answer: message # 4. For some reason it does not appear in the Daily Digests (at least not in my digests), maybe because of a different time zone.

Kouta

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edfrank
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Re: New sites on giant eucalypts

Post by edfrank » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:11 pm

Kouta,

That is odd about the digest. I don't know why it did not show up. It appeared in the RRS feeds. There isn't any settings that should affect it. Maybe because the message had to be approved. I will try to figure it out.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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KoutaR
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Re: New sites on giant eucalypts

Post by KoutaR » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:12 pm

Ed, that could really be the reason. If you approved his first message one day later. Brett's message also appeared on the BBS after Rand's message although in the thread it is before.

Brett, great that you joined NTS! We are looking forward to your future posts!

Kouta

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Jess Riddle
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Re: New sites on giant eucalypts

Post by Jess Riddle » Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:39 pm

Brett,

Thanks for the additional information and sharing the trees on your fantastic website.

The climate on Tasmania sounds similar to other climates that support the world’s largest trees: abundant rainfall, a pronounced dry season, and mild temperatures during the wet season. Your comment about post fire competition is interesting. I wonder how much that has driven the evolution of the evolution of high growth rates in the species. Douglas fir seems to fit that same model, but I’m not sure about post fire regenerators in colder climates.

To put my original question a different way, when you’re trying to discover a new giant Eucalyptus, where do you look? South facing coves? Sheltered, well drained valley bottoms? Small river floodplains? Acidic soils? Circumneutral soils? Mafic soils? Elevation? The evolutionary drivers of tree size are always interesting, but I’m also curious about how local conditions drive tree size too. Local factors vary by region and by species, even for species that commonly grow together.

Jess

Brett Mifsud
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Re: New sites on giant eucalypts

Post by Brett Mifsud » Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:52 am

very good questions Jess.

Firstly climate: While there is a winter, spring maximum for rainfall in both Victorian and Tasmanian big tree areas, summers generally have some rainfall (averages vary in different regions, however, average falls are between 70 - and 100mm per month in E regnans zone) But as occurred in 2011 and 2012, la nina weather events can even bring a summer maximum rainfall 9150- 250mm / month)

Some good information on soil, rainfall and aspect can be found at
http://oldforests.com.au/pages/Posters/Balmer.pdf

Part of the wet forest eucalypt high growth rate is related to their need for light (the tallest species are very shade shy) After a fire you may have millions of seedlings per hectare. Only the fastest and most vigorous will survive to maturity. Furthermore, after 500 years, you may only have 3-4 per hectare.

My searches these days are much more focussed than in the early 1990s!
These days I use google satellite maps to locate potental large crowns.
In Victoria: Elevation range 200- 800m altitude, best on south/ south east facing slopes (Victoria is prone to hotter weather- so north and west are not ideal for the largest trees especially in lower elevations. Altitudes above 800m may contain giant E nitens, or other species in Far east Gippsland.
In Tasmania: Elevation range 100-550m, Most of the tallest trees are on E and NE facing ridges, this protects them from the prevailing SW winds - There are not as many days of extreme temperature in Tasmania.

It may seem surprising but not many of the giant trees in Tasmania are near well drained valley bottoms or small river floodplains. In fact in both Tasmania and Victoria, the land closest to the creeks and rivers is usually devoid of giant trees and is covered in rainforrest species and riparian vegetation. The terrain for the best trees in both states is usually quite steep, but a lot of the best trees are on small benches on ridges and slopes. (centurion is 99.6m tall and grows on a slope on small bench - nowhere near a stream) Victoria has a lot less old growth and so you usually only find small patches of old trees to make assumptions about where the best trees are. For instance, we had some 91 and 92m trees in Wallaby creek that died in the 2009 fires. However, the best regrowth we have, in more fertile and protected sites, is already up to 87m tall and is 220 years younger than the Wallaby Creek site. The implication is that there is the potential for super tall trees in the next 100 - 200 years if these sites remain fire free.
regards
Brett

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