Review of this book by Roger Smith.

The introduction to this book tells us it is about ‘…the story of the establishment and growth of a small forest of Redwoods growing slowly but strongly far away from their natural Californian home, among the native eucalypts of the Otway Ranges..’

While focusing on the extraordinary growth of this remarkable species of tree, the book also describes the historical and cultural landscape surrounding this intrusive but welcome botanical invader. And what an interesting story it is: ‘The book also addresses more fundamental questions about our understanding of the forest ecosystem and the rationale behind recent changes in the prescribed uses of forested land in Victoria. It describes the history of the Otway forests in terms of the rapid changes in the pattern of land use…. These trees (hardwoods) are the botanical opposite of the mountain ash (softwoods) and at 75 years old are still babies – some experts predict they will grow taller here than in California and become the tallest trees in the world!’

The tourist implications for what might become one of the ‘10 must-see‘ sites will challenge both the management of visitors and of the Redwoods themselves. An invasive species in our backyard – I found it an intriguing thought-provoking read! And I really look forward to visiting the site.

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