.

  • Written by Euan Ritchie, Associate Professor in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life & Environmental Sciences, Deakin University

Sign up to the Beating Around the Bush newsletter here, and suggest a plant we should cover at batb@theconversation.edu.au.


In Dr Seuss’s The Lorax, his titular character famously said:

I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.

In the midst of a global extinction crisis, the Lorax’s call to preserve what is precious couldn’t be more apt. The greatest threat to the survival of species globally continues to be habitat destruction and modification.


Read more: The ring trees of Victoria's Watti Watti people are an extraordinary part of our heritage


A potential and local victim of this ongoing environmental catastrophe is a single tree, and a tree I have a deep personal connection with. The tree I refer to is Bulleen’s iconic 300-year-old river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis).

To me this tree has been a constant in my life. While everything else has changed around me, it has stood there, solid, just as solid as its red gum fibres are known to be.

As a child I fondly remember looking up at this tree in awe, as we’d often stop at the nearby service station on a hot summer’s day to buy a cold drink or ice-cream on the way to Saturday sport, the nearby Birrarung (Yarra River), or my grandmother’s house.


The Conversation

Bulleen’s majestic river red gum

It’s estimated to be approximately 20 metres in height with a canopy spread of 17 metres. And its trunk measures a whopping two metres across.

The tree is thought to be the oldest remnant of a once substantial red gum forest, and was saved by a local resident when the rest of the area was cleared for the construction of a service station.

It now faces destruction, as it is within the preferred path of construction for Victoria’s North East link.


Read more: How I discovered the Dalveen Blue Box, a rare eucalypt species with a sweet, fruity smell


While the measurements of this tree are impressive, the splendour and value for me is that it has survived for so long and, in more recent times, against tremendous odds.

Surviving against all odds

The Bulleen red gum stands beside one of Melbourne’s busiest roads and the immediate area is covered with concrete and bitumen. The tree’s roots and health have therefore been challenged for a long time, and yet this massive red gum stands, as if in defiance of the modern world and the development that has encircled it.

Since this tree has survived for so long, it undoubtedly holds a special connection with so many: the Wurundjeri-willam people of the Kulin Nation, members of Australia’s famed Heidelberg school of artists who lived and worked in the near vicinty, everyday commuters that have driven or walked by or stopped to admire it, or the war verteran Nevin Phillips who once apparently defended it with his rifle against it being chainsawed.

Very old trees such as Bulleen’s river red gum deserve our respect and protection, for these trees have substantial environmental, economic and cultural value. National Trust

Further proof of the value of this tree to so many is that it was awarded The National Trust of Australia’s (Victoria) 2019 Victorian Tree of the Year.

Why we must speak for and save old trees

I grew up near this tree and, like the Lorax, I would like to speak for it. Trees as old as the Bulleen river red gum are now increasingly rare in our world, and beyond their strong personal and cultural values, including in some places as Aboriginal birthing sites, they are tremendously important for other reasons as well.


Read more: Vic Stockwell’s Puzzle is an unlikely survivor from a different epoch


These trees provide shade and help keep our cities cooler, improve our mental health and wellbeing, and store considerable amounts of carbon aiding our fight against climate change.

Perhaps most importantly, under their bark and in their cracks and hollows, they provide homes for many of Australia’s precious but increasingly imperilled native wildlife, including bats, birds, possums and gliders, snakes and lizards, insects and spiders.

These homes are prime wildlife real estate, especially in our big cities, where such large old trees are vanishingly rare but where considerable wildlife, common and threatened, still persists. And yet more could survive with a helping hand from us.

A powerful owl chick in a tree hollow, in outer Melbourne. John White (Deakin University)

As cities like Melbourne continue to grow around the world, there will be more and more cases where arguments of progress are used to justify the further destruction of what nature remains. But progress shouldn’t come at any cost, and in the case of preserving iconic and valuable trees such as Bulleen’s river red gum, it would seem there’s more than enough reasons to ensure this tree’s life and its many values continue.

Perhaps again the wise sage, the Lorax, says it best.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.


Sign up to Beating Around the Bush, a series that profiles native plants: part gardening column, part dispatches from country, entirely Australian.

Euan Ritchie is a Director (Media Working Group) of the Ecological Society of Australia and a member of the Australian Mammal Society.

Authors: Euan Ritchie, Associate Professor in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life & Environmental Sciences, Deakin University

Read more http://theconversation.com/this-centuries-old-river-red-gum-is-a-local-legend-heres-why-its-worth-fighting-for-117666

2019 Makeup Trends

The year 2019 has brought us a lot of amazing new makeup trends that have made the process of applying makeup much more fun. Still, if we were to follow every single makeup trend out there, we would soon go bankrupt or end up with a look that doe...

Diana Smith - avatar Diana Smith

Spiritual and physical food

In many cultures there are some spiritual rules concerning foods that people are allowed to consume. And just in general, our own bodies can hint using various methods on what we should eat right now ...

News Company - avatar News Company

What to put on the road

When preparing for a road trip at the top of your list should be working out the itinerary. Gather your family together and decide on where you will go, what you will do, and what you will see. It is ...

News Company - avatar News Company

Australia's still building 4 in every 5 new houses to no more than the minimum energy standard

New housing in Australia must meet minimum energy performance requirements. We wondered how many buildings exceeded the minimum standard. What our analysis found is that four in five new houses are be...

Trivess Moore, Lecturer, RMIT University - avatar Trivess Moore, Lecturer, RMIT University

Would you eat meat grown from cells in a laboratory? Here's how it works

There is rationale for thinking about alternatives to meat. ShutterstockFor many of us, eating a meal containing meat is a normal part of daily life. But if we dig deeper, some sobering issues emerge...

Leigh Ackland, Professor in Molecular Biosciences, Deakin University - avatar Leigh Ackland, Professor in Molecular Biosciences, Deakin University

Centre-left politics: dead, in crisis, or in transition?

New Labor leader Anthony Albanese will need to negotiate the centre-left 'crisis' if he hopes to win office. AAP/Bianca de MarchiThe ALP’s defeat at the 2019 federal election was a surprise. Sho...

Rob Manwaring, Senior Lecturer, Politics and Public Policy, Flinders University - avatar Rob Manwaring, Senior Lecturer, Politics and Public Policy, Flinders University

Morrison wants to unleash economy's 'animal spirits' and foreshadows new look at industrial relations

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will lay out economic policies "to get Australians off the economic sidelines and on the field again" on Monday. Dean Lewins/AAPScott Morrison will commit to getting con...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

People who spread deepfakes think their lies reveal a deeper truth

Deepfakes make it harder for us to communicate truths to one another and reach consensus on what is real. ScreenshotThe recent viral “deepfake” video of Mark Zuckerberg declaring, “w...

Mark Andrejevic, Professor, School of Media, Film, and Journalism, Monash University - avatar Mark Andrejevic, Professor, School of Media, Film, and Journalism, Monash University

In Never Look Away we finally have a painter biopic offering insight into the creative process

Tom Schilling as Kurt Barnert – a slightly blurred facsimile of the famous German artist Gerhard Richter – in Never Look Away. Pergamon Film, Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion, Beta Cine...

Ted Snell, Professor, Chief Cultural Officer, Cultural Precinct, University of Western Australia - avatar Ted Snell, Professor, Chief Cultural Officer, Cultural Precinct, University of Western Australia

Dan Tehan wants a 'model code' on free speech at universities – what is it and do unis need it?

An independent review found there was no freedom of speech crisis at universities, but it recommended a model code of conduct. from shutterstock.comThe federal education minister, Dan Tehan, has calle...

Katharine Gelber, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, The University of Queensland - avatar Katharine Gelber, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, The University of Queensland

For women's sake, let's screen for depression as part of the new heart health checks

Research suggests depression is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. From shutterstock.comThe latest government statistics, released last week, show that from 2001-2016, the rate of cardiac eve...

Adrienne O'Neil, Principal Research Fellow & Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow, Deakin University - avatar Adrienne O'Neil, Principal Research Fellow & Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow, Deakin University

5 Home Decor Essentials for a Well Styled Home

Who doesn’t dream of a well-styled home? Well-styled and well-organised. If you are looking for decorating must-haves for your home, you have come to the right place. Consider this article mini-gu...

News Company - avatar News Company

Why Organic SEO Services Matter

Brands trying to build up their popularity are often curious to know how organic services can help them. Well, if you have heard of organic SEO, you’ll probably know it is a vital part of marketi...

News Company - avatar News Company

VIDEO: Michelle Grattan on the winding up of Australian Conservatives - and the government's income tax cuts

Michelle Grattan talks with University of Canberra Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Leigh Sullivan, about the week in politics. The discussion includes Cory Bernardi anno...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Psst, Matildas: here's the best way to score at the Women's World Cup

Sam Kerr has found plenty of goal-scoring opportunities for the Matildas at this year's Women's World Cup. Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPASport science can offer some valuable insights to the teams contestin...

Mark Scanlan, Sessional Academic, Edith Cowan University - avatar Mark Scanlan, Sessional Academic, Edith Cowan University

The mighty mulga grows deep and lives long

Mark Marathon via Wikipedia, CC BY-SASign up to the Beating Around the Bush newsletter here, and suggest a plant we should cover at batb@theconversation.edu.au. Among the nearly 1,000 species of Aus...

Gregory Moore, Doctor of Botany, University of Melbourne - avatar Gregory Moore, Doctor of Botany, University of Melbourne

Need to find a good restaurant? Economics serves up some golden rules

Stay away from the tourists traps, economics tells us. Your best bet are those cozy places away from the bustle. www.shutterstock.comWhere to eat? It’s a question you’ve probably pondered ...

Lionel Page, Professor in Economics, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Lionel Page, Professor in Economics, University of Technology Sydney

Why revive a forgotten Australian classic? Oriel Gray's The Torrents remains relevant today

Celia Pacquola as Jenny Milford in The Torrents. A new production of the forgotten Australian play shows its themes are still relevant today Philip GostelowReview: The Torrents, Heath Ledger Theatre (...

Vivienne Glance, Hon Research Fellow in Poetry and Theatre studies, University of Western Australia - avatar Vivienne Glance, Hon Research Fellow in Poetry and Theatre studies, University of Western Australia

Difficult for Labor to win in 2022 using new pendulum, plus Senate and House preference flows

Unless Labor improves markedly with the lower-educated, they risk losing the seat count while winning the popular vote at the next election. AAP/Dan PeledAustralian elections have been won in outer ...

Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne - avatar Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne

LifeStyle

How to Revolutionize Your Beauty Experience

Being concerned with beauty and cosmetics used to mean frequent visits to the salon and sitting in...

8 Cool Yet Romantic Things to do in Australia

Australia is a wonderful place for vacationing this summer and you can beat the heat as they have ...

How to Banish Dark Circles without the Need for Cucumber Slices

Dark circles can be downright annoying, especially when you are getting enough sleep. So, what cau...

Innovation and Future Trends in the Beauty Industry

  When medicine, tech, and beauty join forces, there’s no stopping the innovative solutions th...