Forests of Ash: An Environmental History, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, Vic., 2001
This beautifully written and presented book tells the story of Australia’s giant eucalypt, the mountain ash. Dependent on fire for its survival, the mountain ash can become a source of destruction, forcing people to confront their relationship with the bush. Death and devastation struck most shockingly on Black Friday 1939 when millions of hectares burned and 71 people died. The life cycles and fire cycles of the forests of ash span millenia. Tom Griffiths tells the ecological and social history of a unique Australian forest, and in doing so, illuminates the story of the continent as a whole. (blurb)
A review is here and another is here while the author discusses aspects of the environment and its impact on our history here. In a related article, the author examines evidence from the 1939 and 2009 Victorian fires.