Big scrub day reveals secrets to life on earth
Big Scrub Landcare Group member Vanessa Ekins says new Australian research has confirmed what many environmentalists have long believed - that trees are vital to human existence in much the same way as the oceans.
All will be revealed by Dr Mary White AM at the annual Big Scrub Rainforest Day, which this year has moved to Bangalow due to the closure of the event's traditional home, Rocky Creek Dam, which is currently shut while engineering works are carried out.
Vanessa said people would be familiar with Dr White's acclaimed book Greening of Gondwana and her keynote address for the event is entitled Balancing Earth's Own Green Budget.
“The research shows that trees transpire bacteria and these bacteria, or aero-bacteria as they are called, act as the nucleus for droplet formation and form clouds,” Vanessa explained. “What it demonstrates is that trees actually produce rainfall. Now we all knew that, but this actually shows how it happens. Oceans create algal blooms and produce microscopic sulphur which produces rainfall and trees are the terrestrial equivalent.
“It's exciting because we've now got the evidence to show that trees produce rain. In the last 12,000 years we've lost 80% of our forest cover across the planet so Mary will be talking about how important our forests are, how important a green world is, for all of us.”
The theme for this year's Big Scrub Rainforest Day is 'All about the Big Scrub' and the event actually kicks off on Saturday night, September 19, with the screening of the locally-produced documentary Rainforest: The Secret of Life at 8pm in the Bangalow A&I Hall. The film, which will be introduced by producer and co-director David Warth, captures rare and fascinating wildlife sequences, including the mating rituals of lyrebirds and bowerbirds, and explores the intricate web of life that evolved in rainforests. It also leads to the recent scientific discovery of the greatest secret of all - how rainforests form part of a vast global system that regulates the world's climate.
Tickets to the film are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and pensioners and $5 for children, with all proceeds going to the rehabilitation of Big Scrub remnants.
The day itself is on Sunday, September 20, at the Bangalow Showground and begins at 10am with a Welcome to Country and Dr White's keynote address.
Panel discussions will be held in the A&I Hall from 11am to 3pm on a range of topics including how to make a living in the Big Scrub, which will feature a talk by Pam and Martin Brook from Brookfarm. They will discuss how their eco-friendly macadamia food business developed alongside their restored rainforest and macadamia plantation.
Presentations and workshop will cover a huge variety of themes from “Big Scrub Bats' to 'Living on the land for beginners'. Also, every hour from 10am buses will leave for walks in the Booyong Flora Reserve led by experts who will give people an insight into the magnificent biodiversity of the Big Scrub.
Entry to the event is by gold coin and there is a free bus leaving Byron Bay Visitors Centre at 9.30am and returning at 4pm. For bookings, phone Mark on 0429 461 342.
For a full program of the Big Scrub Rainforest Day see page 35.