A forest a day! July 3: BT009D
BT009D is located about 3 km to the west of BT013A (featured yesterday) and within 300m of the World Heritage Area. This 72 hectare coupe is also within the 430,000 hectares that should have been under a conservation agreement since August 2011. Yet sadly, like 42 other logging coupes, it was excluded. Logging continues right now in BT009D.
This forest is a prime example of natural ecological processes and the transition of different types of vegetation over the landscape. This area shows signs of a wildfire having come through possibly 100 years ago. These natural fire events play an important ecological role in this type of forest, opening up opportunities for young eucalypts to grow. These young trees are standing side by side with a few very tall and old Eucalpytus delegatensis, growing twisted and gnarly, their crowns turning grey. Leafless branches stretch out from their trunks, featuring numerous hollows that provide perfect habitat for many species. Although the area is dominated by E. delegatensis, there is also a significant presence of Eucalpytus subcrenulata growing in some areas of this coupe.
The understorey boasts plenty of rainforest species, including a signficant amount of leatherwood. The area also features an incredible tree-species commonly known as horizontal, due to its habit of having branches bend over and grow horizontally. They can end up as a dense mass of intertwined horizontal branches, often to the dismay of bushwalkers who can find it difficult to navigate through. Despite this, it is an impressive species. scrambling through, over, under and around a thick cobweb of moss-covered branches can feel like being a kid in a big playground. Especially when you are crawling along the branches and suddenly notice, looking through the gaps beneath you, that you have climbed meters above the ground without realising it!
In some parts of this coupe, rainforest species give way to tea tree in wet swampy sections, and then up on the hills the forest becomes very dry. There is lots of variety in the understorey as it changes throughout the landscape. This is a particularly significant reason why Butlers Gorge has been identified by the recent verification (IVG) report as being an important addition to the current Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The TWWHA is listed against Criterion (ix) which relates to “outstanding examples of significant on-going ecological and biological processes.” Butlers Gorge shows the progression from mixed species eucalypt forests in the south transitioning to pure Eucaplyptus delegatensis stands as the elevation increases and the climatic conditions become colder. The IVG report concludes that ensuring these forests remain in “as close to a wilderness condition as possible” is the best way to ensure that such ecological processes are maintained (Hitchcock 2012: 146)
Below is an aerial photo of BT009D taken by photographer Rob Blakers in April this year. This photo shows the scar of logging encroaching on the otherwise pristine wilderness of Butlers Gorge.
Please CLICK HERE to take a moment to sign the cyber action and help stop logging in BT009D and other high conservation value forests in Tasmania.