Fires burnt large areas of Tasmania last summer. A recent independent review of fire fighting efforts found there had been some errors in how fires were tackled, but there were also innovative developments (like using sprinkler systems to fire sensitive vegetation).
We know that significant areas of fire sensitive vegetation were impacted by the fires. We also know that climate change will bring ever more serious fire seasons, putting these remnant vegetation communities at greater risk.
A group of people have banded together to make a film about this endangered vegetation. They say the ‘Tasmanian Gondwana film aims to raise awareness of the extraordinary value and beauty of Tasmania’s unique paleo-endemic communities. It comes in the wake of the 2016 and 2019 wildfires in western Tasmania that threatened and burnt large areas of ancient Gondwanan vegetation’.
They have launched a crowd fund campaign to enable the film to be produced.
The following comes from the organisers. You can read more – and donate – here.
Ancient, rare and beautiful, the Tasmanian paleo-endemic plant communities – Huon pines, pencil pines, King Billy pines, other highland conifers, celery-top pines and deciduous beech, along with rainforests (including Australia’s biggest rainforest wilderness in the Tarkine), are at the heart of wild Tasmania.
A planet shifting beneath our feet
But these Tasmanian Gondwanan communities are acutely vulnerable to drought and to the wildfires that are caused by unprecedented dry lightning strikes and record low rainfalls in Western Tasmania.
Some of Tasmania’s mountains and rainforests have not seen fire since before the last ice age, over 10,000 years ago. Pencil pines and King Billy pines live for 1500 years and are found no-where else on earth. They are extremely fire sensitive and are killed outright and their seed destroyed by fire. Fire also burns and destroys the deep peat soil, accumulated through millennia, that the trees grow within and are dependant upon. Once gone, these irreplaceable remnant forests and their living soils are lost forever.
The last two centuries has seen the tragic loss to fire of great tracts of extraordinary rainforest and primeval King Billy and pencil pine forest – the Tasmanian highlands are littered with the haunting skeletal remains of ancient trees. Historically most of these fires were lit by people but climate change induced fires have now outstripped those by a large margin.
The ancient paleo-endemics are the canaries in the coalmine of the unfolding climate crisis.
Why this film?
The Tasmanian Gondwana film aims to raise awareness of the extraordinary value and beauty of Tasmania’s unique paleo-endemic communities. It comes in the wake of the 2016 an 2019 wildfires in western Tasmania that threatened and burnt large areas of ancient Gondwanan vegetation.
The film will be approximately 25 minutes in length, professionally narrated and with a sound track by Jabra Latham, Madeleine Becker and other talented local musicians. The film will comprise aerial and ground footage of wild Tasmanian rainforest and ancient highland communities from Rob Blakers, as well as scientific commentary. The anticipated release date is November 2020.
The fundamental aim of the film is to increase appreciation and protection for these unique places. To that end it is intended that the film will be shown widely in formal showings and online.
You can join us
Funds raised will be used for:
* Photo and video trips to the Gondwanan forests and highlands
* Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service permits
* Musician royalties
* Studio recording
* Professional sound and video editing
* Promotion and screening events
[IMAGE: autumn deciduous beech and King Billy pines on the West Coast Range. From the crowd fund website]