For a small place, Tassie’s got some big trees. Like, really big. Second-tallest-in-the-world-big.
But many visitors to the island state wouldn’t know it. They don’t know what these trees look like, or where to find them, even when most of them are located less than 100 metres from the road. Some are even visible from the car!
Tassie’s Giant Tree Register
The tallest hardwood trees in the world call Tassie forests home with at least 200 considered ‘giants’. To be classified as giant, a tree must be over 85 metres tall or 280 cubic metres in volume. That’s a whole lotta arbour.
A bunch of local tree lovers want to put Tassie’s tall trees on the map – literally – with hopes of fostering respect and protection for the big beauties along the way.
Tree photographer Steve Pearce and his partner, canopy scientist Jen Sanger have created Tasmania’s Giant Tree Register, an online resource that maps out and provides info on Tassie’s top 200 giant trees including their height, species and where to find them. They’ve pinned the trees onto an interactive map, so you can follow it right to the roots.
The pair have collated all this info from a variety of sources, but notably from research undertaken by, as they put it, ‘big tree legend’ Brett Mifsud, who’s been researching trees for 30 years.
Read more: Australia’s Tallest Tree Joins The 100m Club
Why Does No One Know About These Trees?
According to Mr Mifsud, there are only three places in the world where giant trees are naturally found; south-east Aus (Tasmania and Victoria), a small section of Malaysian Sabah, Borneo and the Pacific north-west of the United States.
It’s pretty bloody special for Tassie to play host to these gentle giants. But Mr Pearce says that there are only three signposts that mention the tall trees in the whole state. So why isn’t there more fuss being made about them?
Both Mr Mifsud and Mr Pearce reckon that personal experiences with a giant tree inspire people to care for them and to take action to protect them. In fact, Mr Pearce says the potential for tourism that surrounds these trees is far more valuable than their worth as wood.
‘If we could turn Tasmania into the big tree state, just like California is, we’d have a more engaged public, a better environment, carbon storage and habitat retention,’ he told ABC News.
Mr Pearce hopes that the Giant Tree Register will help not only tourists, but Tasmanians themselves, learn about and locate the giant trees and foster their love and care for them.
He envisions a tourist drive linking the forests and trees across the state.
‘There are roads that connect these places, and dozens of notable individual trees and the most spectacular ultra-tall wet eucalypt forests in the world are visible from the car,’ Mr Pearce said.
We’d certainly take that drive.
Check out Tassie’s Giant Tree Register and go tree hunting yourself.
Photos thanks to Steve Pearce and The Tree Projects