Saving this tree species from extinction
November 18, 2023 11:00 PM   Subscribe

The project aiming to make sure this tree species doesn't go the way of the Tasmanian tiger. The Tasmanian tiger was driven to extinction, as was the Tasmanian emu and a myriad of plants — but it is hoped a bold move will save another iconic Tasmanian species, the Morrisby's gum. "The Morrisby gum, or eucalyptus morrisbyi, is one of the rarest eucalypts in Australia and a few years back, one of the main populations of that species suffered this catastrophic decline," plant sciences lecturer Dr Bec Jones, from the University of Tasmania, said. Rising temperatures, drying soils and heavy wildlife browsing saw one of the biggest healthy populations of eucalyptus morrisbyi in Tasmania plummet from 2,000 to just six adult trees in seven years. "A colleague at the University of Tasmania, Peter Harrison used climate modelling to predict areas that eucalyptus morrisbyi could inhabit under climate change," Dr Jones said. A couple of east coast property owners offered land, including Tom Whitehead, who manages the Okehampton property on Tasmania's east coast. "The chance of having a mature population here would be great to see in the future and going forward for future generations to enjoy as well," Mr Whitehead said. A stand of 1000 young trees was planted on the Okehampton property.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries (3 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
No mention of either the microbial community in the soil which will be supporting this species or the co-adapted insect species which are dependent on it. Kew Gardens on the other side of the world has a back-stop in one of their glasshouses. But those transplanted seeds left all the co-dependent species behind. ditto when the current project plants a 1000-strong monoculture grown from saved seed.
posted by BobTheScientist at 12:26 AM on November 19

BobTheScientist, you're right this type of project won't recreate or save the whole ecosystem surrounding endangered plant species. From reading a bit it sounds like these particular trees survive as ornamental plantings outside of their native ecosystem, so this tree migration project may be able to spread the tree's population in the wild and succeed in their goal. I'd love to see migration projects to save more complete ecosystems from climate change, although I imagine it would quickly increase in difficulty with each added species.
posted by blueskies at 6:39 AM on November 19

chariot pulled by cassowaries, I really appreciate your posts on what I think of as "climate hope." It's hard to face the effects of climate change and it's helpful to be reminded about the efforts to try to mitigate what's possible to mitigate.
posted by EvaDestruction at 8:32 AM on November 20

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