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Rarest macadamia threatened by bushfires

Macadamia jansenii, the world’s rarest macadamia species, is threatened by the Central Queensland bushfires.

Restricted to a tiny population (less than 100 trees) in Bulburin National Park, there have been fires to the north, south and west, with the closest fires coming to within 10km of the park.

“This is what we have been worried about,” said Denise Bond from the Macadamia Conservation Trust. “We have a recovery plan for this endangered species, with about half of the trees replicated at Tondoon Botanic Gardens in Gladstone, but the other half, if destroyed, will be lost forever.”

“The species was only recognised by western science in 1992 – it would be a tragedy if we lost it again, just as we are finding out more about its role in the ecosystem.” 

“This is the type of catastrophic even that has been our greatest fear – fire or aggressive weeds could destroy the remaining trees and we could lose the wild population.”

“This is Gooreng Gooreng and Gurang Peoples’ land and the Gidarjil Rangers along with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) are our major partners to protect Macadamia jansenii.”  

“The Threatened Species Commission and FAME (Foundation for Australia’s Most Endangered Species) are funding the recovery project but is early stages yet.”

On 11 September, local botanist Keith Sarnadsky found a small new population of Macadamia jansenii, at a distance of 5km from the original population – it too is now threatened by the fires.

“Keith’s surveys are funded by FAME, and so far they have confirmed that Macadamia jansenii is restricted to this one small catchment.”

“We have applied for a permit from QPWS to collect samples from these new trees, but it has not yet been issued – I hope we will not be too late.”

“This little Macadamia grows 200 km north of its closest relative, Macadamia integrifolia, the nut we all love to eat. How has it survived hotter, drier conditions than the other three species? We don’t want to lose it before we can find out.”

For more details:

Denise Bond, Executive Officer, Macadamia Conservation Trust, 0488 432 226

Email: Denise.Bond@macadamias.org

Website: wildmacadamias.org.au

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