Gimlet Gum on Charles Darwin Reserve. Photo Craig Allen.
Whenever I get the chance, I walk into the bush at the southern end of Charles Darwin Reserve, on Badimaya country, to see aparticular Gimlet Gum (Eucalyptus salubris). She is an ancient thing – much older and larger than any other Gimlets in the area.
When I look at her, I often find myself thinking about the things this old tree must have seen. For hundreds of years, it has been providing life-giving habitat, food and shade for countless species, and playing its role in the complex nutrient cycle of this fascinating eucalyptus woodland ecosystem of the mid-west.
It’s also interesting to think about why this one tree is so much older than the surrounding Gimlet forest.
Charles Darwin Reserve Manager, Will Hansen. Photo Frances Andrijich.
Was it the sole survivor of a major disturbance, such as a fire or a storm?
Can it be thanked for supplying seed from which the surrounding, younger Gimlets have since germinated? If so, that would make this beauty all the more special.
Conserving these ancient landscapes in perpetuity is at the heart of why Bush Heritage exists.
If lost, landscapes like this would take hundreds of years to rebuild at best, and it’s possible we could never recreate the complex dynamics that underpin their ecosystems.