Enchanted Forests: A World of Fascination

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    Talisay, Batangas, Philippines: Night shot of fireflies in the thousands flittering about within this single wild almond tree (Brabejum stellatifolium) (Photos: Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund)

    (Text and photos by Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund)

    From Borneo to the Solomon Islands, Indonesia to the Philippines and Australia, we enter a magic world, where the sounds of the forests come to life in charming fashion, displaying an array of colours and a diversity of behaviours that have been an inspiration to authors, artists and dreamers since time immemorial. We celebrate the call of the wild.

     

    —  Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund

    Talisay, Batangas, Philippines: Night shot of fireflies in the thousands flittering about within this single wild almond tree (Brabejum stellatifolium) (Photos: Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund)

     

    Jo, Bessie and Fanny come to live at the edge of the Enchanted Wood where the trees, “a darker green than usual”, whisper their secrets: “Wisha-wisha-wisha”. In the wood is the Faraway Tree – a huge tree inhabited by fairy-folk and laden with fruit of all kinds from acorns to lemons. Its topmost branches lead to ever-changing magical lands above the swirling clouds…

    – The Magic Faraway Tree (Enid Blyton, 1943)

     

    Buttress root rainforest tree in Tangkoko National Park, Sulawesi, Indonesia: Typically found in nutrient-poor rainforest soils, these roots do not penetrate to deeper layers. Tangkoko Nature Reserve protects at least 127 mammal, 233 bird, and 104 reptile and amphibian species; of these, 79 mammal, 103 bird, and 29 reptile and amphibian species are endemic to the island (Photos: Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund)

     

     

    Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan, Indonesia: A beautifully spun spider web (Photos: Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund)

     

     

    Sarawak, Malaysia: From the pitfall trap view – Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants whose prey-trapping mechanism features a deep cavity filled with liquid known as a pitfall trap (Photos: Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund)

     

     

    An Asian pit viper in Bako National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia: Gazetted in 1957, Bako is Sarawak’s oldest national park, but one of the smallest, covering an area of 2,727 hectares at the tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula (Photos: Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund)

     

     

    Queensland, Australia: One of the best-known bioluminescent fungi in Australia is the Omphalotus nidiformis, or ghost fungus, a gilled basidiomycete mushroom most notable for its bioluminescent properties (Photos: Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund)

     

     

    Sulawesi, Indonesia: A spectral tarsier (Tarsius tarsier) jumping a grasshopper on a strangler fig tree, which serves as a sleeping shelter during the day. Tarsiers are insect eaters and hunt at night. They belong to the smallest primates and only occur in Sulawesi, Borneo, Philippines and Sumatra (Photos: Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund)

     

     

    Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia: A delightful Prevost's squirrel (Callosciurus prevosti) in the Bornean forest (Photos: Jürgen Freund, with Stella Chiu-Freund)

     

     

    JÜRGEN FREUND or “Yogi”, as he is widely known, has been pointing his camera at all creatures great and small for several decades now, with great success. He excels in Nature photography underwater, as well as on land. Yogi works with his wife Stella Chiu-Freund on projects that take them across Australia and around the world. Yogi and Stella have also published some stunning books that aim to focus attention on valuable and fragile places. www.juergenfreund.com

    Read the rest of this article in No.104 Issue 3/2014 of Asian Geographic magazine by subscribing here or check out all of our publications here.

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