Australia’s precious but endangered native nut, the wild macadamia, now has a National Recovery Plan to guide its protection.
The National Recovery Plan for Macadamia Species was made jointly by the Federal and Queensland Governments and legislated recently under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
The legislation outlines the current status of wild macadamias and what Australians need to do to protect this much-loved national icon.
Macadamia Conservation Trust’s Denise Bond said the trust was thrilled Australia now had a plan to look after the wild macadamia species.
“Wild macadamias are threatened by clearing, habitat fragmentation, weeds and fire, and vulnerable to extinction if their remaining habitat is not carefully managed,” she said.
“Just as we rely on other countries to safeguard genetic resources for most of the food we eat, Australia has an obligation to look after the genetic resources of our native nut.”
All four macadamia species originated in Australia and grow in small pockets of sub-tropical rainforest along the east coast from Gladstone to northern New South Wales.
The National Recovery Plan for Macadamia Species reviewed a decade of conservation activities and found three of the four species were still vulnerable to extinction and the Macadamia jansenii species is critically endangered.
First discovered by Australia’s First Nations people and then shared with newcomers, macadamias have since become the predominant Australian native commercial food crop.
The Macadamia Conservation Trust works with the Macadamia Species Recovery Team to coordinate macadamia conservation activities across private, Local and State Government land.
“Protecting wild macadamias and their habitat will conserve high value forests including endangered and critically endangered ecological communities,” Denise said.
“The National Recovery Plan for Macadamia Species is the guiding document for macadamia conservation and we will use it to get the best possible outcome for Australia’s wild macadamias.”
The first recovery plan for macadamias, adopted in 2012, was commissioned by Horticulture Australia Limited and the Australian Macadamia Society in recognition of the value of wild macadamias as genetic reservoirs for macadamia farmers both in Australia and internationally.
It was the first species recovery plan ever developed by a horticultural industry.
In 2020, Bundaberg Botanic Gardens was selected as one of four sites by the Macadamia Conservation Trust to plant the endangered species Macadamia jansenii.
As detailed in the plan macadamia jansenii is known only from a 4000 m2 area in the upper catchment of Granite Creek in Bulburin National Park, north-west of Gin Gin.