‘Devastating’ long-term prognosis for ancient Gondwana ecosystem as bushfires turn trees more than 1,000 years old to tinder
Fires have broken out in parts of the Tarkine rainforest in Tasmania’s north-west. Once these forests are burned, they take centuries to recover. Photograph: Markus Mauthe/Greenpeace
A global tragedy is unfolding in Tasmania. World heritage forests are burning; 1,000-year-old trees and the hoary peat beneath are reduced to char.
Fires have already taken stands of king billy and pencil pine – the last remaining fragments of an ecosystem that once spread across the supercontinent of Gondwana. Pockets of Australia’s only winter deciduous tree, the beloved nothofagus – whose direct kin shade the sides of the South American Andes – are now just a wind change away from eternity. Read more.