Challenge and Adaptation (Eucalyptus and us)

There are many different Eucalyptus species and while there are many similarities (hence them all being eucalyptus)  is it through challenge that they demonstrate their differences.

Rachael and Eucalypts

Challenge is what gives us a push to change and adapt, no challenge and no need to change, no need to rise above, no need to grow more.  I believe this is why we all need a little challenge in our lives.

Survival strategies

Eucalypts have evolved with a number of different strategies for challenges, depending on what sort of environment they are in.  Moist valleys, exposed hills, constant water, dry conditions, heat and cold.  Some grow tall to access the sun some stay small and stunted due to the wind and lack of rain.

Each of us has also grown and developed our own strategies due to the environment we grew up in, our nature and our connections.  A tree makes the most of its situation, making do with the soil its roots are in the sun and rain it receives;  it finds a way to live where it is.  I think each of us can learn from that.


Fire is what eucalypts are most famously adapted for and it is fire that is one of its biggest challenges.  Many people look back at their biggest challenges and find that they were transformative, it is the same for eucalypts.  The mallee form of eucalypt re-grows from lignotubers (roots), others die and grow from seed, others sprout new branches all up the stem to get a fresh lot of leaves happening quickly to help them re grow and re gather strength.  This is what they do within a range of situations they have come to expect.

Sometimes we don’t get what we expect, and neither do trees.  Fires more frequently, hotter or colder than what the eucalypts have come to expect change this.  Sometimes this means trees need to hang on as well as they can, waiting for the next burn, sometimes this means not surviving the fire at all.  Trees will do their best given the situation, if it means dropping a limb to survive they will do it.  If it means hanging on they will do their best.  Of course at times it means death and trusting that of the seeds dropped over the last few seasons some will grow into new trees.

Nature adapts and learns, though many of these changes, like fire adaptation, happen slowly.  This is one of the reasons  why we need to tread gently on the earth.

We can change and adapt

We too have adapted and continually adapt to our surroundings.  The difference with us and trees is  that we can adapt to changes in our own life time.  Brain neuroscience now has evidence that we can grow new neural pathways, that doesn’t mean to say it can be easy but we can do it.

We can change through awareness, through being present and continually making conscious choices.  Change and adaption is all around us.  Nature adapts and learns, we also change and grow all the time.  Now science supports that we can grow towards more adaptive habits through awareness – in our own lifetime.

Here’s to treading gently on the earth and creating conscious change in our own lives.