1 Tahrcountry Musings: Australian Wollemi Pine Trees Endangered

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Australian Wollemi Pine Trees Endangered

The Australian Wollemi pine, a species dating back to Jurassic times has been endangered by a deadly disease probably introduced by an unauthorized hiker. The Wollemi pine, described as a living fossil, was thought to be extinct until 1994, when a park ranger stumbled upon a stand in a remote gorge in Wollemi National Park. Entry was very restricted to this place. Those authorized to visit had to undergo strict infection control procedures that involve sterilizing their footwear and equipment. A fungus-like disease has now endangered the wild stand. Despite the threat, the species is not at risk of extinction. Australian authorities had propagated thousands of trees in plantations from the wild stand.


JLB said...

Do you know if they have plans to reintroduce their saplings to the wild when/if the threat is removed?

tahrman said...

They have plans for plantations.
The scientists are trying propagation by means of seeds and vegetative propagation. The latter has been found to be more succesful.In an effort to spread the reach of the tree it is being made available to private nurseries also.By the end of 2005 Wollemi Pine saplings will be available from selected retailers

Manjit said...

I hear even today, the trees' home is a closely guarded secret. No roads lead to the area. Even scientists studying them are blindfolded as they are flown in by helicopter to the site. The guy who sneaked did not do the proper thing