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Blue Mountains’ Wollemi Pines declared asset of intergenerational significance

Blue Mountains’ Wollemi Pines declared asset of intergenerational significance
January 15, 2021

The NSW Government has announced the Wollemi Pines, in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, will be the first site in the state to be declared an Asset of Intergenerational Significance.

The declaration is a legally recognised mechanism to bolster existing measures that protect the species for future generations.

Advising that the historic declaration recognises the extraordinary global significance of the Wollemi Pines, with some of the adult trees estimated to be up to a thousand years old, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today stated "this declaration enables us to take existing protections up another notch, and set specific legislative requirements including a dedicated fire management strategy to secure the survival of the species for generations to come.

“Prior to their discovery in 1994, Wollemi Pines were only known to us in fossil records with fossil evidence pointing to the species' existence up to 90 million years ago.”

Just over 12 months ago, teams from the RFS and National Parks undertook an extensive operation to protect the Wollemi Pines from extinction when the secret site came under threat from the devastating summer bushfires.

The declaration follows a $6 million investment by the NSW Government to embed ecological risk in the fire management framework and bolster bushfire protections for important ecological sites as part of the Government’s response to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said the site is the first to be declared under new provisions in the National Parks and Wildlife Act that will enhance conservation for the most precious and rare jewels in our national parks crown.

Minister Kean added “the Wollemi Pines are often described as a living fossil, having been around when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

“Despite the incredible efforts by the NPWS and RFS teams last summer, several hundred juvenile trees in the protected site were impacted and are yet to resprout.

“That’s why we need to act now to put long-term protections in place that reduce the risk of fire exposure and allow the slow-growing juvenile trees to thrive.”

The declaration paves the way for special regulations to enhance the Wollemi Pines’ legal protection including requiring a dedicated fire management strategy, ecological monitoring, and ongoing conservation management.

Other places which will be considered for declaration as Assets of Intergenerational Significance include those containing the most important remaining populations of threatened species, as well as important cultural heritage sites.

Images: A NSW Parks and Wildlife Service ranger inspects a Wollemi Pines (top), NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at today's announcement (middle) and Wollemi Pines from the forest floor (below, credit Jaime Plaza/Botanic Gardens Trust).

Related Articles

23rd December 2020 - Blue Mountains region reflects on 20th Anniversary of being granted World Heritage status by United Nations

1st November 2020 - NSW Government doubles goal for expansion of national parks estate

27th August 2020 - Ningaloo World Heritage area wins reprieve from new oil and gas exploration

27th February 2019 - Developer plans appeal after Council knocks back plans for camp in Tasmanian World Heritage Area

30th August 2018 - Agreement prompts potential World Heritage listing for Burrup Peninsula ancient Aboriginal site

5th July 2018 - UNESCO adds 18 sites to World Heritage list

21st June 2017 - World Heritage Committee report confirms global action required to save reefs

18th April 2017 - World Heritage sites threatened by crime

14th November 2020 - New Gathering Place at Blue Mountains’ Echo Point opens during NAIDOC Week 2020

22nd April 2020 - Blue Mountains Koala rescue program to benefit from WIRES and Landcare funding

11th November 2019 - National walking trail launched in NSW Blue Mountains

29th June 2020 - NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Hunter Central Coast encourages women to join their team

30th June 2015 - 30 National Parks and Wildlife Service firefighters recognised for long service

12th May 2020 - Bushfire affected wildlife and plants to receive $150 million funding boost 

20th December 2019 - Bushfires see luxury NSW Blue Mountains resort suspend arrivals

26th December 2018 - More than 50 Australian plant species face extinction within 10 years

4th June 2018 - National Herbarium of NSW to move to Western Sydney

11th June 2015 - Botanists inspire new Blue Mountains attraction

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