Earth Minute: Anne Petermann on Burning of 1,000-Year-Old Trees in Tasmania

Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann recently discussed the burning of 1,000-year-old trees in Tasmania as part of her regular “Earth Minute” segment on  KPFK radio’s Sojourner Truth show.

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Transcript:

The Guardian recently reported on an unfolding global tragedy. Tasmania’s World heritage forests of 1,000-year-old trees are burning in the last remaining fragments of an ecosystem that once spread across the supercontinent of Gondwana.

Tasmania’s beloved nothofagus – a tree whose relatives grow in the South American Andes – are threatened with oblivion. They grow high up on the central plateau where it is too wet for wildfires. But a devastating spring and summer drought combined with a huge electrical storm set off the fires.

David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania, points out that these fires have historically been once in a millennium events.

But in Tasmania, on the mainland of Australia, and around the world, as the climate warms the occurrence of catastrophic fires is on the rise.

Said Dr. Bowman, “These fires are killing trees over 1,000 years old; burning up soil that takes over 1,000 years to accumulate. We just have to accept that we’ve crossed a threshold. This is what climate change looks like.”

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.

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