Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Large old tree profile: Chewton’s treasured long-leaved box

Posted on 14 December, 2023 by Ivan

Over the past 12 months, Connecting Country has been asking the local community to map our precious large old trees, through our new online mapping portal. The mapping portal aims to engage with the community about the importance of the old, and often large trees of central Victoria, as part of Connecting Country’s larger project, ‘Regenerate before it’s too late’.

Anyone can access the mapping portal. The community, including landholders, Landcarers and land managers, have been vital in mapping their favourite old trees across our region so far. To date, we have mapped over 30 old trees on the database and are keen for the community to continue mapping trees that are important to them and our local wildlife.

We will be highlighting some of the extraordinary trees that have been mapped, starting with a great entry from Joel B in Chewton, who uploaded a wonderful Long-leafed Box (Eucalyptus goniocalyx) in the Post Office Hill reserve, Chewton. We asked Joel to tell us what he loved about the tree and what made it a significant tree to him and his family. Thanks Joel! Please enjoy his words and images below, and scroll further for instructions on how to map a large, old tree yourself.

The coppiced long-leaved box of Chewton

…One of my favourite trees to visit is a coppiced long-leaved box on Post Office Hill reserve, Chewton. Its story is literally etched on it – first lopped, it has regrown with multiple branches, having survived a wildfire, multiple axe wounds and sawn-off branches, this is a living example of bush resilience!

In an area of limited natural tree hollows, one large branch has a hollow that has supported generations of brush-tailed phascogales in the decade I’ve been visiting it, with continual evidence of scats and scratchings on the branches and scats falling out of the hollow onto the forest floor below.

I imagine it has been a favourite roost or hunting perch for owls, judging by the pellets found below. In the day time it supports a range of our local woodland birds, from thornbills and honeyeaters in the canopy going after lerps, seasonal flowering and insects, to the larger ravens and currawongs that can be seen perching or tearing off bark on the larger branches looking for a tasty meal.

I always look forward to visiting and like to notice any activity…

Joel B

We need your help!

The mapping portal is now open for any community member to record the old trees in your area. You will need to register with the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) (its quick, easy and free), then upload a photo and enter the field details needed for the survey. The portal will ask you simple questions about the tree location, size, species, age (if known), health status and habitat value.

Trees can be tricky to identify, especially eucalypts. If you are unsure about the identification of the tree species, you can:

  • Use the to iNaturalist app assist with identification –  click here
  • Refer to a good guidebook, like those published by Friends of the Box-Ironbark Forests – click here
  • Visit the Castlemaine Flora website – click here

To record your large old tree, or view the field survey questions and required measurements – click here

The mapping portal uses BioCollect, an advanced but simple-to-use data collection tool developed by the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and its collaborators. BioCollect helps users collect field biodiversity data for their own projects, while allowing the data to be easily copied into the ALA, where it can be publicly available for others to use in research, policy and management. This allows individual projects to collectively contribute to ‘big science’.

By recording these trees, you will help build our understanding of the large old trees in our region, and contribute to the largest biodiversity database in our country. As the database grows, you can also access the portal to learn about other wonderful large old trees in our area and view the photos.

We are most grateful for our generous project support from the Ian & Shirley Norman Foundation. The foundation aims ‘To encourage and support organisations that are capable of responding to social and ecological opportunities and challenges.’ To learn more about Ian & Shirley Norman Foundation – click here

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