"Black Tree Trunks are no Sign of Bush Fires" Top 5 Page for this destination New Zealand Favorite Tip by Kakapo2

New Zealand General: 375 reviews and 341 photos

  Blackened trees in the Mt. Somers area.
by Kakapo2

Favorite thing: -

Just the other day it happened again. In Abel Tasman National Park a tourist asked when they had had the last bush fire up there as so many tree trunks are still black...

Well, most of the black tree trunks in New Zealand are not caused by bush fires. In fact, we do not even have many bush fires. Most of the trees with the charcoal-black trunks have a green canopy - and are mostly beeches, the trunks covered in honeydew. If you stay for a while you will notice a lot of birds picking on the trunks to get through the black surface to the honeydew droplets - mostly, of course, the honey-eaters like tuis, bellbirds and also silvereyes.

The blackened trunks and branches of most of the forests are brought up by a small scale insect that buries itself within the bark of the tree. It feeds on the sugar-rich sapwood of the tree and excretes any excess sugar surplus - the honeydew - out through an ana1 tube. This sticky stuff produced by the scale insect coats the trunks, and on it thrives the black, sooty mould that forms another coat on the trunks.

That is what makes you get a totally false impression - especially if you come straight from Australia where bush fires and therefore black trunks are part of each summer.

You find fantastic black tree forests in Arthur's National Pass, the Lewis Pass region, the West Coast, and, as mentioned, in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 14, 2007
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