Are some eucalyptus more vulnerable to climate change than others? That’s a question the community could help answer, Professor Stefan Arndt from the University of Melbourne’s Ecosystem and Forest Science School said at the launch of the Tree Storey project at the Euroa Arboretum on Friday (November 24).
Prof Arndt said Victoria’s 140 types of eucalyptus had adapted to survive their surroundings.
“Eucalyptus found in the Mallee tend to be smaller, only 5-8m tall, and can adjust well to dry conditions, for example by shedding leaves (to preserve energy and water), while trees in mountainous parts of the state can be more than 100m tall and require high rainfall,” Prof Arndt said.
But he said a lot more information was still needed to understand how various climate change scenarios – such as a hotter and drier future - might affect some species. The effects of urbanisation also needed to be considered.
“Are some species are more vulnerable to these changes? Are the tree deaths natural or due to dieback? Are we just noticing it more? It’s important to understand the full range of factors …. so we really need to get answers to these questions and that’s why I urge everyone to use the Tree Storey app and get involved in this project.”
Goulburn Broken CMA CEO Chris Norman also spoke at the launch and congratulated the project working group on the enthusiasm, time and effort that had gone in to developing the Tree Storey citizen science project.
“We know that as well as their aesthetic and natural values, trees are very important for agriculture – for example, providing shade and shelter for stock and supporting the birds and insects that help control pests.
“By getting involved in this project the community can help track tree health over the years, inform the research Stefan and others are doing and help direct the sort of activities needed to protect and improve trees now and into the future.
“Congratulations to everyone involved in getting the citizen science Tree Storey project off the ground – what we believe is a Victorian, if not an Australian, first!”
The app allows users to record the size, location and health of trees and provide comments on ground cover, the surrounding environment or other useful observations. The app and supporting tree identification and instructional guides can be downloaded here or phone 5822 7700 for more information.
The Tree Storey project is part of the Bogies & Beyond project and is supported by the Goulburn Broken CMA, Strathbogie CMN and Gecko Clan through funding from the Victorian Government’s Our Catchments Our Communities initiative.