Preserving pine's genetic heritage

h but is under threat from the voracious appetites of the islands goat population, which make a quick meal of any young seedlings.

While the existing trees mostly look healthy, the stands survival prospects are uncertain. Its long-term future may depend on the success of current efforts to capture all the islands goats and ship them to the mainland, says Dr Matheson.

Each seed sample collected by Matheson and his colleagues has been carefully recorded noting the tree that it came from and the exact the location of the tree.

We hope that, after quarantine requirements have been met, this seed can be brought into Australia and tested in low-rainfall areas.

The task of collecting these valuable seeds was physically extremely challenging, says Dr Matheson. The trees grow at altitudes of up to 1200 metres along the rim of a volcano and reaching them required a steep and rough 300 metre climb from our camp site. We then had to walk about 6-7 km to the furthest trees down a sloping, rocky ridge to an altitude of 500m. The worst bit was carrying the pine cones back to camp!


Contact: Mr. Mick Crowe
CSIRO Australia

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