Help them grow old

Every big old tree that still stands is vital to your future.

Half of Australia’s beautiful forests are gone. The ones that remain are being destroyed at a devastating scale. Some of our favourite forests are home and refuge to iconic and threatened species like the swift parrot, numbat and greater glider. Old trees and ancient forests are the best tools we have against the climate crisis—their rich soils and dense vegetation store carbon. (Image above: Matt Tomkins)

Help ensure our forests grow old and stand strong for generations to come.

We need to invest in protecting our forests to protect our future. Together, we can work to shift the excessive political power of destructive industries. And make sure that logging and fossil fuel industries don’t have the licence to continue ruining our climate and the places we love.

‘‘Planting a few hundred saplings is not an acceptable alternative to preserving old growth forest. We need big old trees.’’
Gemma Plesman, Wilderness Society Senior Campaigner

When a single big old tree is lost, so is a living national treasure. These ancient trees have captured and stored carbon since they first shot out of the ground. They are ‘apartment blocks’ of the forest, home to birds, animals, insects and even other plants that live in their roots, trunks and branches. They are a source of food, shelter and incomparable beauty. They help clean the air we breathe and the water we drink. With your donation today, you can help protect trees, forests and even human life.

Join people like photographer Matt Tomkins, a Wilderness Society volunteer, in helping to secure a future for our remaining big trees. Read his story below.

Matt's story

Wilderness Society volunteer, Matt Tomkins, spends as much time as he can in the forests of the Dandenong Ranges near his home. He says the elegant mountain ash he sees there connect him to happy times in his childhood, when he’d walk in nature with his family and hang out amongst trees. Here he shares his photography and tells us how big trees shaped his life and how they continue to be a source of inspiration.

"Being out in nature was a big part of my childhood. There’s certainly a sense of awe and wonder that you feel, looking up at big trees.

"I remember as a kid I enjoyed climbing trees, and just sitting up there listening to the birds.

"It gave me a strong appreciation for nature. As an adult I’ve become increasingly concerned about the extent to which it’s being degraded. It’s why I volunteer for conservation organisations and try to use my photographic skills for good.

"I hope you'll like the images I'm sharing with you here.

"The mountain ash trees, and their surrounding forests, are really stunning.

"I go to the Dandenong Ranges a lot. You get this understorey of stunning green ferns with tall, white-trunked mountain ash trees standing up out of that. I think they’re most beautiful when it’s raining or foggy. It’s not the most comfortable time to be out in the forest, but to watch them fading in and out of the fog is magical. Especially when it's accompanied by the beautiful sounds of the lyrebirds and other wildlife in the undergrowth.

"I’ve seen the splintered mess that’s left after logging.

"I have been out to logging coupes and it’s pretty shocking to see the devastation up close. It just seems incredibly unnecessary that it’s being done for industries that could be using plantation or recycled sources.

"You think about the really beautiful, big stands of trees they could have been—if only they’d been left.

"I really feel a sense of awe, wonder and reverence, standing beneath these beautiful old trees. It’s a huge shame to destroy them.

"I hope my photos can help people see and understand the value of these forests. I want to be part of a community that looks after nature.

"Join me by donating today."

Aussie giants that need your help...

Big old trees draw more carbon out of the atmosphere than young trees. They keep absorbing and storing carbon for their entire lives.

Mature trees have hollows where species, included several endangered possums, can nest. And larger trees are called the ‘apartment blocks’ of the forest because at every height, a myriad of plant, insect and bird species flourish. Here are three species that need urgent assistance.

Image: Chris Taylor

Image: Jenita Enevoldsen

Image: Rob Blakers

Image: Chris Taylor

Image: Jenita Enevoldsen

Image: Rob Blakers


Eucalyptus regnans is a native of Tasmania and Victoria, and can grow to be 500 years old. It’s the tallest flowering plant on Earth and the second tallest tree in the world. The tallest mountain ash grows in Tasmania. It’s nearly 100 metres high, or the length of a soccer field. Leadbeater’s possums are known to nest high in the hollows of mountain ash, emerging at dusk to look for food.


Eucalyptus gomphocephala is a
stately, rough-trunked tree that grows in
southwest Western Australia. It’s also very
rare—the tuart woodlands are listed as
Critically Endangered under the EPBC Act
due to overdevelopment. Conserving tuarts
will help the fortunes of the endangered
western ringtail possum.


Eucalyptus globulus is known commonly as ‘southern blue gum’, named so because of its striking blue and mauve trunks. It grows in southeastern Australia. It can grow to between 30 and 55 metres tall, and provide vital habitat for the Vulnerable glossy black cockatoo in old hollows.

How your donation can make a difference

Your gift will go a long way to protect trees like the regal mountain ash, stately (and rare) tuarts, and iconic blue gum. We know that older trees do more for the environment than young ones. As Wilderness Society Senior Campaigner, Gemma Plesman points out: ‘‘Mature forests that are being destroyed are not 'like for like' with newly planted or young regrowing trees. That's why planting trees doesn't even the score when old forests are bulldozed. You can’t replace 50, 100, 300 year old natives trees with saplings or young regrowth and get the same benefits.’’

Your donation will help:

  • Strengthen weak environment laws. We’ll continue the push for reasonable, national standards on environmental laws and an independent body to oversee them.
  • Work with communities, First Nations, governments and industries to manage forests in ways that are good for the economy, people and nature.
  • Call out vested interests so that decision-makers are not unfairly influenced by destructive industries.