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The Great Forest Book Launch

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Event description

The rare beauty of the Victorian central highlands. 

The city of Melbourne lies on the edge of a vast plain, surrounded by a green and blue mountainous rim. Its hills and peaks are home to magnificent mountain ash forests, the tallest flowering plants on the planet. These mountain ash forests were 20 million years in the making, and deep within the valleys of eucalypts, are even more ancient Gondwanic rainforests.

These unique forests have sustained the Gunaikurnai, Taungurung and Wurundjeri people for thousands of years. They are also home to the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum and Baw Baw frog, and many other creatures and plants found almost nowhere else.

These forests provide Melbourne with nearly all of its drinking water, yet for decades they have been heavily logged. Industrial logging undermines the water cycle, and it also renders the mountain ash forests vulnerable to the kinds of catastrophic wildfires which struck on Black Saturday in 2009.

Please join us for the online launch of Professor David Lindenmayer's latest book, The Great Forest; a tribute to extraordinary landscapes now under severe threat. It uncovers the intricate webs of life that make mountain ash forests so much more than their towering trees. The exquisite photographs in the book reveal it as one of Australia’s largely undiscovered natural treasures. 

The night will feature a panel discussion hosted by Patagonia trail running ambassador Majell Backhausen, featuring: Professor David Lindenmayer; Sarah Rees the creative and business director for the Great Forest National Park conservation proposal; former rugby player and activist David Pocock; and Shannon Bourke the environmental and social Initiatives manager at Patagonia Australia and New Zealand.

Please note: Event will be held on Vimeo; access via the following link:

Majell Backhausen
(MC) is a trail running ambassador for Patagonia. Taking time off from a career as an engineer to live in a one-bedroom apartment with three friends (and a dog) over a summer in Chamonix, France, kicked-off Majell’s desire to be in nature, exploring the intersection of the mind, body and spirit. Since 2015, this philosophy has led him to racing, guiding, and teaching trail running. The allure of racing in big events is equalled by the urgent need to face the climate emergency for Majell, who believes the future of trail running only exists in tandem with the purposeful protection of wild places.

Professor David Lindenmayer is a world-leading expert in forest ecology and resource management, conservation science, and biodiversity conservation. He currently runs five large-scale, long-term research programs in south-eastern Australia, primarily associated with developing ways to conserve biodiversity in farmland, wood production forests, plantations, and reserves. He has maintained some of the largest, long-term research programs in the country, with some exceeding 38 years in duration and published over 1,300 scientific articles including more than 830 peer-reviewed papers in international scientific journals. David’s research has been recognised through numerous awards, he has held and continues hold many prestigious fellowships and was also appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2014.

Sarah Rees is a long-term conservationist for the forests and wildlife of Australia with most of her work focussed on the Ash forests of Victoria’s Central Highlands. With conservation successes for species such as the Baw Baw Frog and Leadbeater’s Possum attributable to her work, Sarah participates in policy development with community, government, and business. Sarah is a Board Director of the Forest Stewardship Council, science facilitator with several large universities, Committee member for the Office of Conservation Regulator and a founder of the Great Forest National Park initiative.

David Pocock is a former professional rugby player who represented the Wallabies at three Rugby World Cups. He is the co-founder of the Rangelands Restoration Trust in Zimbabwe and an outspoken advocate for climate action and conservation. He is a part of #TheCoolDown movement led by athletes calling for bold climate action to safeguard the future of all Australians and the future of sport.

Shannon Bourke is the environmental and social initiatives manager at Patagonia Australia and New Zealand. She works to drive and support initiatives that align with Patagonia’s mission statement - “We’re in business to save our home planet” and believes in the power of business to effect long-term positive change. Shannon has a keen interest in projects that foster wide-ranging social, environmental, and economic benefits and has a wealth of experience working in campaigning, policy development, research, economics, as well as program evaluation.

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