The Nightcap Oak rises from the ashes

16 June 2020

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AUSTRALIA – The critically endangered Nightcap Oak, Eidothea hardeniana, is showing resilience after the devasting bushfires swept through their last remaining habitat.

Six months since the fires, fresh red shoots have been found sprouting from the stumps in Mount Nardi located in Nightcap National Park.

This rare strand of Gondwana-era rainforest trees have survived since the Eocene epoch about 40 million years ago.

The Nightcap Oak has been found only in the Nightcap Range north of Lismore. It is in the plant family Proteaceae, along with the more familiar members such as the waratahs, grevilleas, banksias and proteas.

Dr Kooyman, who has been gathering data about the species told ABC news, “What we have here are forests that are representative of deep-time connections of the Australian landscape to Gondwana and our shared history. These are important places that need to be protected and their story needs to be better understood.”

The species is not out of the woods yet, ABC news said a drying landscape and increased risk of fire were a threat to the species.

Dr Kooyman told ABC news, “Despite the tragedy of large stems being lost, to see that potential re-emerge and to see the numbers shift — that the extent of mortality is less than it looked to be initially — it’s uplifting.”

Positive Action

  • Learn more about the Seedling Bank and the planting efforts of communities around Australia
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Author: Jennifer McMillan

Jennifer joined the Planet Ark team to support the 2018 National Tree Day campaign. With a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Master’s degree in Journalism, she is passionate about science communication with a focus on multimedia storytelling. Prior to joining the Planet Ark team she travelled to Jordan as a foreign correspondent. She works as a vet nurse in her spare time!

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