DECCW senior threatened species officer Dianne Brown with Northern Rivers CMA catchment officer, John Nagle, planting out the endangered Coastal Fontainea plants grown from genetically selected plant material.
DECCW senior threatened species officer Dianne Brown with Northern Rivers CMA catchment officer, John Nagle, planting out the endangered Coastal Fontainea plants grown from genetically selected plant material.

Chance at survival for rare plant

A TREE so rare only 10 individual plants exist in the wild now has a second chance at survival.

The species, Coastal Fontainea, is found only at Lennox Head and serious concerns have been raised about its future.

It is critically endangered, with only one or two of the existing plants believed to be female.

This lack of genetic diversity could have major impact on future breeding success.

That’s why, with expert advice, a team of local environmentalists and scientists have taken cuttings of the trees to grow in a controlled nursery setting.

Some of those cuttings have now been planted alongside the original trees at the Lennox Head site.

Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority project officer John Nagle said it was an innovative and exciting project.

“We should start seeing results within five to 10 years, which is a lot quicker than it would happen in the wild,” he said.

“This is really cutting edge conservation work.”

Coastal Fontainea was discovered in 1982.

It only grows in littoral rainforest, which has been seriously depleted on the Northern Rivers.

The Coastal Fontainea Recovery Project is run by the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Royal Botanic Gardens, Ballina Shire Council and Bushland Restoration Services.



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