Tree Survival

 

Every week scientists and environmentalists remind us that the environment is in bad shape. One major area of concern is trees, with around 16 million hectares of forest cleared every year according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The first trees evolved between about 400 – 350 million years ago, 120 million years before the first dinosaurs. Today there are about 100,000 species of trees in the world. Australia has some of the world’s most amazing trees, including the oldest and the tallest trees on Earth. Sadly, much of Australia’s forest and woodland has been lost or seriously degraded in the past 200 years. Some estimates put the number of trees cut down since European settlement at more than 20 billion, with about 700,000 hectares of bush still being cleared every year. Many of the environmental problems we face today are a direct result of the removal of trees and other native vegetation. Major reforestation programs are underway to reverse some of the damage and everyone can contribute.

 

Activities

• Write a list of all of the products in your home that have come from trees. Are any of these recycled or recyclable?


• Collect various samples from trees to make a botanical display, as if for a museum, showing the lifecycle of a tree.


• Research the various ways Australian native flora germinate. For example some require fire, others floods or special birds. Display your findings on a poster.


• Design and conduct an experiment showing how seeds grow.


• Conduct a survey at the local supermarket to find out how many paper products are environmentally friendly. Categorise your results in a table.


• List 50 uses for used newspapers. Make a product and promote it to the class.


• Collect articles from The Mercury about the environment. Categorise on a billboard under the headings 'Use' and 'Abuse'. At the end of a month write what you have learned about people's use and abuse of the environment in a letter to the Editor.


• Draw an annotated map identifying how products are sourced from trees.


• Profile examples of responsible attitudes towards the environment in your school and community.


• In pairs, list the timber resources we use daily in order from least to most important. Discuss the differences in your answers with the entire class.


• Make an artwork about trees using a variety of techniques and materials. For example a collage of pressed flowers, leaf prints and bark rubbings.


• Trees have evolved fascinating defences against attack, write a short article about their attackers and their defence strategies, e.g. sticky sap, spines, nasty tastes, etc.


• Write a fairy tale about an enchanted forest.


• Look at some of the current schemes for reforestation and tree conservation and outline your plan to save the forests.


Websites

Tree Anatomy

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/trees-new/text/tree_anatomy.html
A brief, but scientifically sound, look at the anatomy of the average tree. Looks at the trunk, branches, roots and a tree's response to wounds.

Methuselah Tree

www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/methuselah
Information on the Bristlecone pine. Also a good rundown on photosynthesis and dendrochronology- the science of reading tree rings to date trees and wood.

National Arbor Day Foundation

www.arborday.org
Although the point of this site is to get Americans to take part in tree planting over there, it contains a lot of accessible information on trees and what amazing things they are.

ForestNetWorld.com

www.forestnetworld.com
Sponsor a tree and get your own web site home page, net based e-mail, and access to environmental information and news perfect for school projects. There are also lots of fun puzzles, games, activities and other stuff for children. You can also follow the progress of your tree and get updates on how you have helped to rejuvenate native animal habitats.

Planet Ark

www.planetark.org
Find out how you can take part in National Tree Day in July, and get the latest on deforestation and other environmental news from around the globe.

Landcare
www.landcare.gov.au


Federal government initiative to repair environmental damage from things such as landclearing and to restore the natural environment where possible. Find out what is being done and what you can do to help.

Photosynthesis.
http://gened.emc.maricopa.edu/bio/bio181/BIOBK/BioBookPS.html
A great site for those who want to learn more about the mysterious processes of photosynthesis, with detailed diagrams and a full chemical roundup of what happens during photosynthesis.

Books

The Trees: Their Natural History

By Peter Thomas

This concise and layman-friendly introduction to the natural history of trees, presents information on all aspects of tree biology and ecology. It shows how trees function, how they procure nutrients and produce food, how they grow and reproduce, and why they eventually die.

Tree- DK Eyewitness guides

By David Burnie.

A stunning pictorial guide to some of natures greatest creations. Looks at how trees are born, grow and die, tree types, leaves, trunks, seeds, fruits and flowers, and all of the different uses for wood.

Garden Trees- Royal Horticultural society guides

A guide for the Australian gardener to all of the types of trees that can be grown in Australia, and how to care for and maintain them. Beautifully illustrated

Bringing Back the Bush

By Joan Bradley

The essential guide to turning the tide of environmental destruction. The Bradley method of bush regeneration has been used for over two decades to push back the weeds and help the native plants remerge and take back their land.

Native Trees and Shrubs of South-Eastern Australia.

By Leon Costermans

With more than 900 species of plants crammed into one book you are bound to find something here that you can stick in the ground and help restore some of Australia's natural environment. Every tree is illustrated, showing leaf types, fruits, flowers and seeds, with plenty of colour plates on a range of species.

Places

National Parks

Go take a look at where trees live. Smell the fresh air. But be careful not to harm the environment.

Local Council

Talk to your local council about tree planting and bush regeneration in your local area.