India’s Superlative Banyan Trees
Asia is the quintessential land of superlatives, framed by the most expansive trees on Earth. The sprawling, titanic banyans are made up of impossibly intricate networks of wood formed by the tropical genera of fig trees, Ficus, with individuals boasting unparalleled crown coverage. Perhaps surprisingly, the largest examples are found in one of the world’s most populous nations, India, sharing the same living space as human beings.
BY YD BAR-NESS
In the tucked away Caluya Islands of the Philippines, it takes a village of tambalang farmers to raise families with college-going children. This environmentally sustainable livelihood was realised by a local fisherman’s knowledge of the unique surrounding reef and the shallow seagrass that promotes seaweed growth, ensuring that every step of this business – from planting to drying – is kept within their community.
BY STEVE DE NEEF
Korea’s Green Growth
In spite of a green growth initiative aimed at drastically increasing renewable energy sources, Korea’s carbon emissions have continued to soar in recent years. With a burgeoning long-term plan that still actively promotes nuclear-based energy, a repetition of the severe environmental degradation experienced during the 1970s is not far from reality. In an era of climate change anxiety, does the Korean government have its priorities right?
BY JOHN POWER
Take an unforgettable journey through a captivating, picturesque mountain range, gradually giving way to numerous river systems and windswept beaches. Encounter some of the finest glacial landforms in the Southern Hemisphere as the landscape changes dramatically with every step you take on this mesmerising adventure through New Zealand’s South Island.
BY ADRIAN PAGE
A Higher Summit
Follow a team of seven on a quest to find the highest mountain peak of Southeast Asia – a title hitherto given to Myanmar’s Hkakabo Razi. A new contender for the prestigious position rises in the form of Gamlang Razi, also in Myanmar, an intriguing mountain where there are no footsteps to follow – until now.
BY ANDY TYSON
Heaven’s Firing Line
An enigmatic and extraordinary mountain calls for an equally mystical gatekeeper. For close to three decades, the late Mbah Maridjan presided over Mount Merapi, Indonesia’s most active stratovolcano, which has been regularly unleashing pyroclastic wrath since 1548. It remained unsparing even to its most loyal protector, marking the tragedy of his death with a miraculous white banyan.
BY KHONG SWEE LIN