Shelley, congratulations on your very impressive prospectus. Best wishes for your own work on the freshwater environs.
50 degrees south and discover
its hidden secrets
I am the last person to ever ascend the loneliest tree in the world. I did this earlier today, and I am on a bit of a high as a result. I have joined a legion of eminent New Zealand naturalists, among them Sorensen (1945), Godley (1969) and Meurk (1975+) who have measured the height of the Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) at Camp Cove. Lord Ranfurly planted the tree in 1907 and from the 1940’s onward it has been repeatedly measured, in part for posterity, in part because it is an exotic species of pine (it is yet to produce cones so is not spreading).
The spruce is the only true tree on Campbell Island, earning it the official moniker of the ‘loneliest tree in the world’. The last measure in 1995 put its height at 7.7 m; this morning we recorded 9.25 m. The growth of the Spruce appears to have accelerated since the 1960’s, providing another stand of evidence for climate warming in the Deep South. The tree has heritage status, and while the Department of Conservation has permitted the climbing of the tree for measurement this time around, they have specified that this was the last time. Given this, we also took a trigonometric measure, which we will compare against the true measure. From now into the future, only the trigonometric measure will be allowed, bringing me back to my point that I am feeling pretty chuffed. I ate a peanut slab at the top (cheers Whitaker’s).