Stand out from the pack

ACT's tallest tree

Well before Europeans stepped foot on these shores, a humble seed fell to the forest floor and began a mighty journey through time. High in the mountainous ranges to our west, the seedling was nurtured, weathered the elements and grew tall.

Some 400 hundred years later this imposing specimen stands head and shoulders above the rest. With a circumference of almost 6.5 metres and a canopy reaching over 60 metres towards the sky, this rather grand old majestic Mountain Gum (Eucalyptus dalrympleana) has been identified as the ACT’s tallest tree.

Using high-tech remote sensing imagery, scientists created extraordinary three dimensional models. Through an advanced form of light imaging radar, LIDAR satellites provided an unprecedented perspective that the ANU’s Fenner School of Environment and Society has analysed in detail, building insights into the structural composition of our magnificent forests.

As part of this process the Mountain Gum was identified as the loftiest tree of them all. Growing in treacherous country and behind the locked gates that protect the Bendora Dam sub-catchment, the tree is virtually inaccessible.

It’s nice to know that such grand old trees simply exist. As unique mountain fauna, Mountain Gums are common in mature tall forests of the Brindabellas where large old trees are found.

They form the pillars of functioning ecosystems. Habitat for a myriad of critters, nature’s ultimate boarding house affording protection, a source of food, an advantage point from which to prosper. With age and maturity our Mountain Gum possesses numerous tree nesting hollows, a critical habitat. The tree is a resource for a range of fauna, some of the most charismatic being the Greater Glider, the Yellow-bellied Glider and the magnificent Powerful Owl.

Fallen branches become homes for ground dwelling mammals such as the Antechinus and allow a greater diversity and abundance of insects to live in our forests and play their critical role in a healthy ecosystem by pollinating plants, eating plants and providing food for other animals. Big trees provide bark as habitat and support mistletoe, both of which add significantly to the ecological web of life in a healthy forest.

To celebrate all things trees Canberra Tree Week, from 30 April to 6 May, is the perfect festival to appreciate, admire and enjoy our beautiful trees. This year’s celebrations include a variety of events ranging from guided walks, a symposium and even a book launch.

To find out how you can hug a tree and a whole lot more visit Canberra Tree Week 2018 - Transport Canberra and City Services

Find out more about our tallest tree.

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful platypus.

Article also appeared on 1 May in The Chronicle