The Private and Communal Lives of Trees


Trees are much more than a trunk with branches and leaves.  When you look closely, as we will, you will see that trees are highly complex organisms.  They have the amazing ability to produce sugars out of thin air; their respiration is similar to that of humans and animals; they have hormones; and they react to different circumstances. 

Forests are much more than a stand of trees with an understory of saplings and shrubs.  Forests could be described as highly complex organisms.  Within a forest, trees interact with and even support each other.  They also have interesting synergistic relationships with millions of organisms in the soil as well as with insects and fauna.  It is a mutual support situation.

How does this all work?  Well, it will be explained in the talk, which should shed some new light on what you possibly thought were rather mundane objects that gave shade and dropped leaves all over the place or provided a nice environment to walk or in which to have a picnic.

About the Speaker:

As a forester for over fifty years, I was fortunate to be in a profession that provided the opportunity to live and work in the forests of a number of countries through Asia, Africa, North America, Australia and Oceania.  Although my work in these countries involved forests and trees, I was also extremely interested in the link between people and rural communities associated with forests and the effect of the interaction of these people on the vitality of the forest. 

Working in a variety of forest environments it was necessary to adapt silvicultural and forest management practices to suit each environment.  It was a continual learning experience.  In the process I became more familiar with how individual trees species adapted to different sites and the interaction between various species as well as with the associated soil microenvironment and the faunal environment above ground.  It was interesting to use these associations to promote optimal health of the forests or plantations.  And that learning process continues to this day linked with my continuing involvement with local forest restoration and management through Landcare and Noosa Council as well as through research into the continual discovery of how trees and forests live as complex organisms in association with their environment

Posted in Friday Talks.