Bushfires And Climate Change Threaten Ancient Fagus Tree

Leading into the turning of the fagus


Ebony Reeves

10 April 2019

Ebony Reeves

Article heading image for Bushfires And Climate Change Threaten Ancient Fagus Tree

At the end of autumn, the rare Tasmanian Nothofagus Gunnii (fagus) tree will change its colours to red, orange and gold in the "turning of the fagus", a stunning reminder of Australia's Gondwanan heritage, and entirely unique in this part of the world. 

The fagus is regarded by scientists as a key to understanding how vegetation in the southern hemisphere evolved, with a fossil record stretching back 80 million years, according to ABC Science

The turning of the fagus is an annual celebration, with 3,000 people expected to visit Mount Field alone over one weekend to witness nature's beauty. 

However, scientists expect that if the tree is not wiped out by bushfires first, it will fall victim to climate change. And while the threat won't wipe out the fagus within the next year, or even 10 years, Head of Biological Science at the University of Tasmania Dr Greg Jordan believes it could happen within 100 years.

The threat follows an increase of dry lightning strikes, bushfires, and other climate change symptoms. 

Dr Jordan recommended Mount Field as the best place to see the ancient trees this year. Let us know in the Facebook comments if you've seen the turning of the fagus before, and what you thought! 

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