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Floating forest

This page is about a curiosity that came about completely accidentally.

I have a property in Clare in the Mid North of South Australia. The climate is hot in summer (and getting hotter due to climate change), total annual evaporation is about 1.6m and my main water supply, a dam, used to dry up quite frequently before the end of summer. In 2009 I put 2100 floating tires on the dam to cut down on evaporation.

I did not expect trees to take root in some of the tires; not only to take root, but to live for at least several years.

Written 2016/01/15 – ©
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com
 
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The beginnings of a floating forest
Floating trees
The roots of these trees do not go into the ground
2016/01/15
 
Drone photo
Aerial view of the dam
2016/01/02
 
Floating forest
Some other of the floating trees
2016/01/15
The background to the floating tires can be read on another page on this site: Evaporation Reduction on farm dams.

The dam involved was constructed around 1994. Red-gum trees and Melaleuca shrubs were planted around the dam soon after construction to reduce wind velocity over the water and thereby reduce evaporation.

The photos on the right show some of the red-gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) trees that have taken root in the floating tires, which are filled with polystyrene. A few Melaleuca trees have also taken root, but have not done so well as the red-gums.

Eucalypts are a very distinctive and unusual genus of tree; very 'Australian'. Red-gums are stand-outs even for Eucalypts; they can grow with their roots completely water-logged for at least several years.

I suppose, in effect, the trees are living in something like a hydroponic growing situation. It is interesting that they must be able to get all the minerals they need from the water in the dam.

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