Tree Life

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

If trees could talk, what would they say?

With the help of Environmental scientists this letter has been written on behalf of the trees.

Ana Pollak

Dear Humans

Living in the middle of a river corridor where the winds can blow at full force our interlocked branches provide a wind break to the island interior. If you remove us from around the island edges our wind break will go.

Many of us have been cut down because of the fear of falling branches. We do not wish to cause harm. In fact, as much as possible, we use our lower limbs to catch falling branches from above. It would be good if you could read “A review of deaths in Australia from accidental tree failures” by Mark A Hartley and Jessica J Chalk May 2019. This document clearly states that we pose a very small risk.

For your peace of mind here’s a comparative list of risks:

Death rate from Melanoma is 1 in 13,500

Death rate from driving cars is 1 in 20,000

Death rate from falling from a chair is 1 in 1,000,000

Death rate from trees is 1 in 5,000,000

Chances of winning Tatts Lotto is 1 in 8,000,000

Death rate from trees inside a house is 1 in 189,000,000

The cost of inspections and removal of us ignores the benefits that we provide for you at no cost. Each year, every large one of us can remove the same amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that you emit from driving 17,000 kilometers. We then convert this carbon dioxide into enough oxygen to supply one family for a whole year.

Research has also shown that we can reduce your energy bills by up to $800 a year and that on a sunny day, a single one of us can have the cooling power of more than ten air-conditioning units. Trees and vegetation can lower local land temperatures by up to 5 -6˚ C on days of extreme heat.

To top this, we give you shelter from wind and our blossoms, leaves, branches, bark, hollows and roots provide food and shelter for all the feathery, furry, slippery and scaly islanders.

So please think about what legacy you would like to leave for the human and non human residents in the future. Humans need to start thinking and planting for the next generation.

In the meantime, please take care around our trunks and roots as this is very important. Any compacting, trench digging or soil filling can damage these sensitive areas. See the Dangar Island Tree Care Form on your Dangar Island Bushcare page of the League website for maintenance tips. If you are concerned about diseased or injured limbs get a professional tree doctor to advise on whether to trim or prune.

Over millions of years we have evolved an intricate coexistence with Dianella, Lomandra, Hardenbergia and Themeda, to name a few, so please continue to plant these around us as they are our friends and understand our microbial needs.

We stress that we are here for each other and look forward to continuing our conversation in the future.

Yours Leafully, President Blackbutt, Prof Angophora, Mr and Mrs Allocasaurina, Dr Bloodwood, Honourable Swamp Mahogany and Ambassador Cheesetree.

P.S. There are plans for a walk and talk and question session with tree specialists in 2021 when COVID restrictions are lifted. So we’ll be asking you to get your questions ready about the trees in your gardens.

PPS. if you look closely you will see I am hosting a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo family nursery at one of my hollows.