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Antarctic Beech trees, between 2500- 3000 years old (depending on the source). These trees are ancient relics of Gondwana, and are protected within the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area.
They grow in cool temperate rainforests from the Barrington Tops plateau in New South Wales, north to the Lamington Plateau and Springbrook Plateau, in southern Queensland, between altitudes of 500 m and 1550m. These are the northern limits of this species. They occur in temperate to cool temperatures and even areas with occasional snowfalls. Clearly the limitations of their distribution to these very climate-specific locations supports the theory that they are remnants from a time when cooler conditions were far more widespread.
I find it staggering to think these trees are so old - some sources say approximately 3000 years old. They were alive during the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the birth of Christianity, the dark ages and the crusades, and the renaissance period. They would have seen Captain Cook's ship (the Endeavour) sail up the east coast of Australia in 1770, and the slow deterioration of the vast forests that once covered this land. Now they are living through the modern age and most likely will see our demise if we don't lift our game. It does my head in! The weather today was cold, windy, and very misty with occasional drizzle - conditions that these trees love, I'm sure. PS: I particularly love the 2nd photo - the trees look like giant forest sentinels. A bit 'Lord of the Rings' really.
Spotted on Jun 9, 2013
Submitted on Jun 9, 2013
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