World heritage forests burn in Tasmania

World heritage forests burn as global tragedy unfolds in Tasmania

‘Devastating’ long-term prognosis for ancient Gondwana ecosystem as bushfires turn trees more than 1,000 years old to tinder

Tasmania

 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

Karl Mathiesen @karlmathiesen

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.