If there were no humans here when the first British seamen gingerly set foot in this place, there were plenty of other creatures. Lord Howe is an exhibition of nature's profligacy. It is clothed, for a start, in a thick tangle of forest, reaching from its shoreline to its highest peaks. Palm trees, banyans, the peculiar pandanus, stinkwood and pumpkin trees, vines, creepers, flowering shrubs of wonderful variety, roots, brambles, and ferns are inextricably massed, all mixed up, some growing one on top of the other, so that it is hard to know where one tree ends and the next begins. Sometimes the forest floor is made of hard dry sand, looking like elephant skin, sometimes it seems to be one treacherous expanse of knotted roots.