Ancient Forests:  Rob Kooyman, respected Australia forest ecologist, traces the history of the ancient forests of Gondwana, how they evolved from Patagonia and Antartica…and now after just 232 years of white settlement, are in grave danger of being destroyed beyond repair.

The Australian rainforests embarked on a natural-history adventure that featured an incredible slow-motion escape from ice-age impacts and massive climate change, and the ever-present threat of extinction. For some ancient plant lineages survival meant risking a breath-taking last minute leap onto the recently uplifted mountains of New Guinea and Southeast Asia.

For others, there was no escape. Everything was at risk.m

How and where did this great adventure in biodiversity start? How will it end?  Who will survive?



Robert Kooyman (MSc, PhD) is a botanist and ecologist with a focus on evolutionary ecology, paleobotany, and community ecology. For more than 40 years he has lived, worked, and conducted research in the forests and rainforests of the Nightcap-Border Ranges region, and more broadly in Australia. Robert has published more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles in high impact journals in rainforest ecology and related fields (e.g., Nature, Science, Annual Reviews, Journal of Ecology, Global Ecology and Biogeography etc.). He has contributed substantially to improving our understanding of the origins and assembly of the Australian and SE Asian floras, and has undertaken research in rainforests around the world. His current research projects are focused on the origins, biogeography, and assembly of rainforests and Gondwanan lineages in Australia and Southeast Asia, targeted research with NSW NPWS on threatened plant species distributions and fire responses, and genetic research with Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney on the dynamics of vegetation responses to climate variables, land-use, and associated disturbances. He is currently a Research Fellow at Macquarie University, a Research Associate with Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, and a Research Associate with Missouri Botanic Garden, USA.



For your information also, the Gondawana Burning Talk at the Wilsons Creek Hall during the 2019 bushfires.

The scale of the November 2019 fire event in the Nightcap NP was unprecedented and catastrophic. Historical logging activities in the Nightcap area up until 40 years ago resulted in the loss of 90 percent of old growth trees. Of the remaining 10 percent, the bushfires have caused the loss of a further 10 to 30 percent of old growth trees.

Rob Kooyman – Gondawana Burning Talk at the Wilsons Creek Hall following the recent bushfires:

See also Part 2, 3, and 4.