Published by: Digital Schools
Making Friends With Trees 2 -
The guardians of our ancient forests share their concerns for our future
Scientist Jessica Ward – jones – from the Fenner School of Environment and Society – ANU, talks of her favourite trees with the snow gum. To her, they are close friends, and the fear of losing them is genuine.
Jessica is a guardian to the snow gum, Eucalyptus pauciflora, that grow in large stands across the crest and crown of the alpine mountain range near Canberra.
On the summit of Mount Gingera in the Brindabella Ranges, Jessica, a young research scientist, stands alongside one of the most influential snow gums on social media; the Mount Gingera Gum.
It is a contorted, spiralled muscular plant with steely white and smooth grey skin. The tree has thick arms veiled with iridescent reds, verdant greens, and hues of blue and lavender that bend and fold in the same direction as the wind that hurtles across the mountain tops at 100km/hr speeds.
Standing with ABC journalist Dr Ann Jones, Jess has tears in her eyes as she conveys the heartbreak she feels at the risk of losing her friends; she is speaking about her gum trees.
“They feel like my friends”; the thought of losing them pretty concerning and pretty upsetting,” says Jess.
The dieback of the snow gums is massive, stretching 400km across the Alpine wilderness, and we risk the collapse of an entire ecosystem if they go extinct. And right now, things are not looking promising.
A plant thousands of years old, adept at surviving where no other plant could, is suddenly in mass die-off, and the reason is rapid climate change.