Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Wollemi Pine research - monitoring the population

Most of the adult Wollemi Pine trees, and a number of seedlings and juvenile plants, have been tagged and measured for height and trunk diameter. This provides a basis for long-term monitoring survival and growth rates. Less than 100 plants are known and most have coppiced growth.

By following their life history it may be possible to determine the ability of the Wollemi Pine to maintain its population in the wild in the current climate. This can then be related to the history of trees using tree ring and growth analyses.

So far, tagging juveniles at one of the sites has shown that their survival is high, though their growth is very slow. This possibly suggests that juvenile plants need a break in the canopy before they can grow and mature into adult trees. However, a break in the canopy is likely to be rare, caused by tree death and fall following disturbances such as storms, rock falls, fire or floods.

The slow growth of young plants in the wild contrasts with their faster growing habit in a controlled environment like a glasshouse or cultivated plants in the ground - see growing it. Research is being conducted on seedling growth.

Researchers

Dr Tony Auld (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service)

 

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All Wollemi Pine trees have been tagged and the height and diameter of each coppice stem has been measured so changes can be tracked over time.

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Wollemi Pine seedlings are being counted, tagged and monitored for survival and growth rates.