A couple of hours’ drive from Melbourne, you’ll find giants. On a winter’s day, they fade in and out of the gentle swirling rain, seemingly melting into the mist before abruptly bursting into view once more. These ghostly mountain ash forests, in an area known as Victoria’s Central Highlands, were home to Gunaikurnai, Taungurung and Wurundjeri peoples for tens of thousands of years. Some towering individuals extend their statuesque trunks almost 100 metres towards the sky. Mountain ash can live up to 500 years. They are Earth’s tallest flowering plants, and one of the tallest tree species on the planet. It’s no wonder the second part of their botanical name Eucalyptus regnans means “ruling” or “reigning”. …But their future, even in the near term, looks shaky. These forests might collapse in the next decade under a warming world. And there’s more to lose than a few old trees.