Random thoughts from an amateur Aussie naturalist.
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Back on home territory
Yesterday I went over to Forrest in the Otways to see if there was any fungi about and breathe in the fresh eucalyptus smell. We've been in Europe for eight weeks and I was missing the Aussie bush.
It takes about an hour to drive to Forrest from Geelong and it's not until the last few kilometres that you see any natural vegetation. Even the roadsides are mainly introduced grasses. I was taking particular notice because as we drove around the UK and Europe I was continually aware that the total environment there has been modified by humans over the last few thousand years - the forests included. It seemed to me that almost every square metre has been farmed, harvested or built upon at some stage. And you only have to see the geophys survey results on an episode of Time Team to see that changes are not just on the surface. The current result of all this activity is a stunning beauty but in no way could it be called 'natural'.
I was taking a rather superior position on this until the drive to Forrest yesterday. And even when I was walking along a delightful track at West Barwon dam near Forrest I was aware that, even there, the timber industry has had a century of operations in the area so most of what I was seeing was regrowth. Thankfully there are still plenty of natural treasures to be found in the regrowth but it would be fantastic to go back several hundred years and have a look.