Trees I’ve Loved – In Their Branches
What explains our affection for trees? As Gretchen Miller writes, a network-wide RN project has elicited hundreds of responses, detailing our complex relationships with trees—trees of childhood, trees of heartbreak, and trees of love. I recorded a piece in the ABC Coffs studios ‘Forests were there first’.
The book is now out, In Their Branches: Stories from ABC RN’s Trees Project, edited by Gretchen Miller, Harper Collins
My piece kicks off the book. You can still hear the radio program, an ambitious undertaking by Gretchen, here: ‘Forests were there first’ is at 18’50.
Here is an extract:
Our house backs onto Jagun Nature Reserve, a bundle of trees and tree stumps, orchids, vines, birds, insects, reptiles and mammals. It’s regrowth forest on poor sandy soil, mainly Blackbutt, Bloodwood and beautiful Tallowwood with rough reddish bark and a thickish canopy. Trees live simultaneously in the earth and in the sky and so are impossible to see clearly – a tree is half underground.
Regrowth forests display a simpler web of ecological relationships than old growth, the Yellow-bellied Gliders have vanished and we have heard few koalas. The forest is oversupplied with stumps but slowly growing back. It takes 60 years and more to form hollows, vital for parrots, possums and gliders. Trees are tall cities of ecological riches, but even the dead and fallen are crucial habitats and their nutrients eventually recycled.