Izay Ayesha looks at some heart-warming locales
There is nothing like a walk through the trees to soothe the soul. The world is full of wonderful & Bewitching Woodlands from light-dappled deciduous groves to thickets of towering evergreens and fern-filled tropical jungles. They are exceptional treats provided to the human race by nature and retain abiding fascination. These intensely attractive repositories of beauty and colour are greatly valued and need to be looked at.
The little-visited Tarkine Forest Reserve in northwest Tasmania has been home to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Tarkiner people for 40,000 years. With its vast forests of moss-covered myrtle beech, leatherwood and pine trees, it’s the greatest expanse of cool temperate rainforest in Australia, and the second largest in the world. This age-old forest is home to species that stem from when Australia was part of the ancient supercontinent Gondwanaland, and is a refuge for endangered native creatures including the last disease-free population of Tasmanian devils.
Białowieża Forest, Poland
The dense and sprawling Białowieża Forest, on the border between Poland and Belarus, is one of Europe’s last remaining primeval forests. It has centuries-old oak, elm and lime trees and is a protected UNESCO World Heritage reserve. It is also home to Europe’s largest population of bison (around 900) after the endemic species was reintroduced to the region. Fungi of all kinds can be found on its damp forest floor and 250 bird species, reptiles and other mammals also thrive here.
Laurisilva of Madeira, Portugal
Thanks to its temperate climate, Madeira is a hotbed of endemic and exotic plants. The verdant isle also has the largest laurel forest left in the world. The ancient forest covered large parts of southern Europe some 15–40 million years ago, but now only patches remain on Madeira, the Azores, the Canaries and Cape Verde. Madeira’s indigenous Laurissilva forest covers 15,000 hectares in the north of the isle, and the endemic Madeiran long-toed pigeon is among its inhabitants. It is part of the Madeira Natural Park which covers nearly two-thirds of the isle.
Cedar forests, Lebanon
Some of Lebanon’s revered Cedrus libani trees are thought to be up to 3,000 years-old. The trees once flourished across the country’s cool northern highlands but now only scattered groves exist, including its most famous, the Cedars of God, which is part of an UNESCO site. The densest cedar forest is the Tannourine Cedars Forest Nature Reserve. Sadly, the ancient giants’ days may be numbered due to millennia of deforestation and now the impact of global warming.
Lake Kaindy, Kazakhstan
This surreal underwater forest can be found in Kazakhstan’s Tian Shan Mountains. After an earthquake in the early 20th century triggered a landslide, a natural dam was formed in the area, flooding the valley with water and submerging the spruce forest. These dead trees, schrenk spruce which are native to the mountains, are yet to decompose and make a haunting sight sticking out of the pretty lake which is surrounded by thickly forested slopes.
Spiny forests, Madagascar
The extraordinarily bio-diverse island of Madagascar has a range of amazing native forests, including the surreal spiny forests that extend across its southern and southwestern part. Around 95% of the plant species in this weird and wonderful drought-resistant world are endemic to the eco-region. The thick and jagged tangle of foliage is also home to some curious creatures, including some regionally endemic species of lemur, Grandidier’s mongoose and the Madagascar radiated tortoise. Sadly, the spiny forests are under threat from deforestation and climate change. TW
Izay Ayesha is into linguistics