200 pages, colour photos
The height and stature of Sequoia sempervirens, or Coast Redwood, are such that the tree is often called the most dramatic expression of life that has ever existed on Earth.
The Redwoods of the Otway Ranges tells the remarkable story of the world's tallest tree species growing in the spectacular Great Otway National Park in Victoria. Originally planted by Victorian foresters for experimental purposes on land cleared and abandoned by the early settlers, the iconic Coast Redwood, native of California and tall-tree champion of the world, is now thriving in the Otways alongside our famous native eucalypt, the towering Mountain Ash.
Exploiting the abundant moisture and rich fertility of the Otway soil, the Redwoods have over the years withstood adversity in the form of fire, landslides, lightning and chainsaws – all the while forming a backdrop to the ongoing political debate about the utilisation and conservation of our valuable forest resources.
The Redwoods of the Otway Ranges also examines some elements of the growth dynamics of Mountain Ash forest in the Otway uplands, and explains how a knowledge of fire and other disturbance can lead to a better understanding of the age, structure, condition and longevity of these forests.
Although the majestic Otway Redwoods are still in their youthful growth phase, they may, one day, claim the title of tallest trees in the world. The Redwoods of the Otway Ranges is a fascinating insight into how the Otway Redwoods came to be, their historic, cultural and biological significance, and their important place in Victoria's history.
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Roger Smith is a forest scientist and author who was born and raised at Beech Forest in the Otway Ranges. He has studied the Otway Redwoods for over 50 years and is an authority on Victoria’s forests and tall trees.