Snapshots of change: repeat photography competition

Tree dieback Mt Pilot

I know what you didn’t do last summer. You forgot to take a photo.

Remember how dry it was last summer? Drought-stressed trees shed their leaves on dry hill slopes across central Victoria. Many readers submitted their observations of dieback to an earlier blog post.

What happened to those trees? Did they re-grow their canopy during the year, coppice and re-sprout, or did they die, leaving gaps for other plants of the same or different species. More importantly, in years to come, how will we know how each patch changed? Continue reading

Drought, dieback and insect attack

Drought death Mt Pilot

Drought-killed Acacia, Callitris and Eucalyptus saplings at Mt Pilot in north-east Victoria. The tall dead trees in the background were killed by an earlier fire.

In 2010, Craig Allen and colleagues published ‘the first global assessment of recent tree mortality attributed to drought and heat stress’ (Allen et al. 2010). In this fantastic paper, the authors collated examples of tree die-off (or mortality) from around the world and – in a very long sentence – they concluded:

… studies compiled here suggest that at least some of the world’s forested ecosystems already may be responding to climate change, and raise concern that forests may become increasingly vulnerable to higher background tree mortality rates and die-off in response to future warming and drought, even in environments that are not normally considered water-limited.

Given that pessimistic prognosis, it’s worth asking; how are trees faring here, in our own backyard? Continue reading