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Encouraging news for post-fire survival of Macadamia jansenii

Dr Alison Shapcott from the University of the Sunshine Coast recently led a team to survey the recovery of Macadamia jansenii and its habitat, 20 months after wildfire swept down into its remote location.

With the assistance of QPWS staff and the Gidarjil Rangers, the researchers had to cut their way through a mess of fallen trees – evidence of the combined onslaught of fire, storms and a prolonged drought.

Despite the tough conditions, the team were able to locate most of the Macadamia jansenii plants identified in the previous survey (in August 2020 – 9 months after the fires). 

Encouragingly, all the plants they located were still alive, and even the smaller plants that had resprouted after scorching were looking quite robust. Plants that had resprouted in August 2020 have survived and grown considerably with new shoots ranging in size from approximately 80 cm to 2m tall.  It seems likely that resprouting after fire is one explanation for the multi-stemmed form of this species.

Trees where the canopy had not been burnt were actively flowering with good evidence of new leaf growth. 

Photo:  Wild M. jansenii flowering, Sept 2021 supplied by Alison Shapcott

The researchers included respected Queensland herbarium botanist Bill McDonald who was documenting the structure and species composition of the Bulburin rainforest.

An additional aim of the survey was to locate the worst weed threats to enable the Burnett Mary Regional Group to target weeding activities.

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