Endangered tree seedlings planted in secret locations on NSW north coast

Seedlings of an endangered tree are being planted in secret locations on the New South Wales north coast in an attempt to save the species after devastating bushfires.

The critically endangered nightcap oak trees date back to the Gondwana supercontinent era and can grow up to 40 metres tall, but are only found in northern NSW.

The only known wild population is located in rainforest north-east of Lismore.

About 20% of them were destroyed or damaged during the 2019/20 bushfire season, however seeds were collected and propagated.

Despite being notoriously difficult to grow, and growing slowly, 50 successful seedlings have been developed.

National parks on the north coast will house 20 of the seedlings at four secret sites.

The replanting is part of the NSW Saving Our Species initiative and the locations were selected by national park officers and Australian Botanic Gardens species experts, choosing sites based on their long term climate resilience.

“The nightcap oak is the ancient rainforest equivalent of the Wollemi pine in terms of evolutionary significance, and it’s yet another great example of a critical species that we’re helping to bring back from the brink,” the NSW environment minister, James Griffin, said.

The remaining seedlings are due to be planted in coming months.

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