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Is the Wollemi pine susceptible to fire damage?
It has always been assumed that the Wollemi pine would be very susceptible to being damaged by fire if it was to get to the populations in Wollemi National Park. However there is also some evidence from the site that fire has affected trees there in the past. PhD student Heidi Zimmer from the University of Melbourne is looking at the response of the pine to fire in controlled experiments. Heidi, who is co-supervised by Dr Cathy Offord based at the Australian PlantBank, at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, has done a number of experiments on small pot plants and had the opportunity to set some of our older excess potted plants ablaze last week under very controlled conditions. The plants will be carefully monitored to observe responses such as reshooting over the next few months.