Author(s): Richard Allen and Kimbal Baker
With 164 million hectares of forest - the sixth largest area of any country in the world - and with a geography that includes snow-covered mountains, lush rainforests, harsh deserts and rich tablelands, Australia has a variety of trees matched by few countries on earth. Forests of towering Mountain Ash, Jarrah and Karri populate our southern regions, elephantine Boabs dot the Kimberley region of Western Australia and seemingly transparent Ghost Gums stand in solitary splendour in the Northern Territory. Cattle rub against giant Bottle Trees and Ironbarks in Queensland, and strangler Figs with 40-metre girths thrive in our northern rainforests. Snow Gums and Shining Gums eke out their lives on our icy mountain tops and prehistoric-looking Bunya Pines, which once looked down on the dinosaurs, grow in a few isolated places in the north-east. Scattered throughout the country, except in Tasmania, are Australia's much-loved River Red Gums, and Beeches that took root when the Roman Empire was at its height give us an idea what the Gondwana land mass looked like before it split up 70 million years ago. Meanwhile introduced species from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas-Oaks, Elms, Cypresses and the like-are doing their best to make a life in the foreign soil of this strange land. &quot;Australia's Remarkable Trees&quot;, richly illustrated with more than 500 photographs, explores the extraordinary lives of 50 of Australia's oldest, largest and most unusual trees. Some trees are doted on in beautiful gardens but most live in difficult places, battling against drought, wind, fire, ice and snow. Writer Richard Allen and photographer Kimbal Baker went to the far reaches of Australia-travelling more than 60,000 kilometres - to photograph these trees and tell their extraordinary stories. &quot;Australia's Remarkable Trees&quot; is not just a celebration of Australia's great trees. It also prompts us to look to the future to see what lies in store for them. It is a call to arms to preserve and protect our oldest and most magnificent living things, and the forests and wilderness in which they live.