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Fungal Forests

Bruce Perkins  
12/19/2016 12:52 PM - over 3 years ago
Fungal Forests
The Bunya and Hoop forests are called:
  • Primary Forests
  • Rainforests
  • Humidity Forests
  • Cloud Forests
  • Fireless Forests
  • Fungal Forests
During my seven years living on the Bunya Mountains and maintaining council walking tracs
in Russell Park on the upper western slopes, I became aware of the large variety and
volume of fungi that occupied the entire root zone of this rainforest.

This fungal community thrives in the sheltered and often moist rainforest environment,
consuming everything dead, plant, insect or animal. This volume of fungi accelerates the
carbon cycle and eliminates forest waste that could fuel fires.

An infestation of pigs and pig digging on the lower slopes had caused an end to the fire
cycle that had established Eucalyptus species on some ridges and other areas. Without fires
and despite severe drought, rainforest pioneers were quickly advancing through the
Eucalyptus forests. Along with these deep rooted plants also came the already mentioned
fungi, which was attacking the fine, shallow roots of large Eucalyptus species, causing them
to fall and die.

Eucalyptus species protect themselves from fungi by maintaining a dry environment around
themselves. Thin hanging leaves create little shade, while having no lower limbs means dry
winds blow over the ground. An extensive network of shallow roots dominate and dry the
top soil. I have often observed a strange moisture repelling fungi among the roots of
Eucalyptus species.

These drying factors create a constant build-up of oily, leaves branches and bark. This
invites very hot fires that few plants, other than Eucalyptus and the burning grasses can
survive. Throughout this region human burning has encouraged the spread of Eucalyptus
species, replacing the carbon cycle with a burning cycle. As described, this is a drying
process resulting in desertification. If you want to dry your land and environment and
create a fire hazard, plant Eucalyptus species.

Related: http://www.radiolab.org/story/from-tree-to-shining-tree