Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

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Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby mandragara » Sun 29 Dec, 2019 11:31 pm

Hi all,

I've been reading a lot in the press about how the wild Wollemi Pine sites have been burnt. However from what I can tell from satellite imagery the creeks in the Wollemi NP are all green and happy.

I know that there are people in the know about them on this website. Can you members of the inner NPWS sanctum confirm if they're burnt or not?

Cheers
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby johnrs » Mon 30 Dec, 2019 8:26 am

M
The early news from the RFS was that the pines were ok.
Yet to be confirmed
J
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby GregG » Mon 30 Dec, 2019 1:24 pm

I am also wondering about the wollemi pines Mandraga, as you say there are conflicting stories circulating which tends to be inevitable in the absence of hard information. I also wonder about the Blue Gum forest, the RFS map shows it as burnt but I wonder if anyone has any better info on how it has fared. I trying not to become too despondent about this whole fire situation but there doesn't seem to be much good news around, I assume we won't know the truth until the parks open up again and walkers can go and take a look themselves, I wouldn't trust anything from a government source at the moment and the media reports are laughable.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby climberman » Mon 30 Dec, 2019 1:57 pm

mandragara wrote:Hi all,

I've been reading a lot in the press about how the wild Wollemi Pine sites have been burnt. However from what I can tell from satellite imagery the creeks in the Wollemi NP are all green and happy.

I know that there are people in the know about them on this website. Can you members of the inner NPWS sanctum confirm if they're burnt or not?

Cheers

Which satellite imagery have you been using?
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby michael_p » Mon 30 Dec, 2019 4:00 pm

Satellite images from 26/12 are available here: https://apps.sentinel-hub.com/sentinel- ... ates=false
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby mandragara » Mon 30 Dec, 2019 9:14 pm

climberman wrote:
mandragara wrote:Hi all,

I've been reading a lot in the press about how the wild Wollemi Pine sites have been burnt. However from what I can tell from satellite imagery the creeks in the Wollemi NP are all green and happy.

I know that there are people in the know about them on this website. Can you members of the inner NPWS sanctum confirm if they're burnt or not?

Cheers

Which satellite imagery have you been using?


I've been using EOS landviewer: https://eos.com/landviewer/?lat=-33.827 ... .51244&z=4 set to 'Healthy Vegetation'

It provides me with images like this, red=good

sffsfsd.jpeg
sffsfsd.jpeg (77.03 KiB) Viewed 5437 times


johnrs wrote:M
The early news from the RFS was that the pines were ok.
Yet to be confirmed
J


Great to hear!!
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby FatCanyoner » Wed 01 Jan, 2020 11:45 pm

Second hand information from someone close to NPWS was that the wild populations have been successful protected. Unfortunately, several of the insurance populations that were planted in other parts of the Blue Mountains have been burnt, at least one by a particular hot and fast moving fire.
I'm sure that as soon as it is safe to do so there will be more detailed assessments untertaken, but for now many of the rangers who would do this work are still very busy dealing with active bushfires.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby GregG » Thu 02 Jan, 2020 9:16 am

Thanks for that info Fat Canyoner, I hope it proves to be correct. Maybe the original native population of Wollemi Pines have survived this and countless earlier fires because their isolated gully gives them protection vs the new "insurance" plantings which are more prone to fire (not to diminish the efforts of NPWS who no doubt have thrown a solid effort at protecting the original pines). I'm still interested to know how the Blue Gum Forest has fared.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby mandragara » Thu 02 Jan, 2020 10:18 am

Great info. Thanks Mr. Fat!!!
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby polas » Sun 12 Jan, 2020 4:11 pm

michael_p wrote:Satellite images from 26/12 are available here: https://apps.sentinel-hub.com/sentinel- ... ates=false


great link.
after browsing recent satellite images I'm getting depressed... Wollemi is of gone... all my favourite places are totally burned. I knew it was bad but actually seeing it makes it much worse.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby Neo » Sun 12 Jan, 2020 9:39 pm

Nah, blackened for now but the amazing cycle of regrowth is to be witnessed. Get out there, safely!
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby Warin » Mon 13 Jan, 2020 7:29 am

Neo wrote:Nah, blackened for now but the amazing cycle of regrowth is to be witnessed. Get out there, safely!


+1
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby boronia » Wed 15 Jan, 2020 3:58 pm

"Desperate efforts by firefighters on the ground and in the air have saved the only known natural grove of the world-famous Wollemi pines from destruction during the record-breaking bushfires in NSW."

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/cons ... 53rom.html
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby Huntsman247 » Wed 15 Jan, 2020 9:22 pm

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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby duncanm » Thu 16 Jan, 2020 3:48 pm

boronia wrote:"Desperate efforts by firefighters on the ground and in the air have saved the only known natural grove of the world-famous Wollemi pines from destruction during the record-breaking bushfires in NSW."

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/cons ... 53rom.html


So they survived millions of years by themselves, but since their discovery 25 years ago, they need human protection?
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby north-north-west » Thu 16 Jan, 2020 4:10 pm

duncanm wrote:
boronia wrote:"Desperate efforts by firefighters on the ground and in the air have saved the only known natural grove of the world-famous Wollemi pines from destruction during the record-breaking bushfires in NSW."

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/cons ... 53rom.html


So they survived millions of years by themselves, but since their discovery 25 years ago, they need human protection?


Given that they are threatened by the results of human activity (climate change due to greenhouse gases), human protection is warranted. In fact, the whole planet needs protection from humans.
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby Neo » Thu 16 Jan, 2020 5:28 pm

Yep, its super-blooper rapid global warming in geological time.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby duncanm » Thu 16 Jan, 2020 5:56 pm

north-north-west wrote:
duncanm wrote:
boronia wrote:"Desperate efforts by firefighters on the ground and in the air have saved the only known natural grove of the world-famous Wollemi pines from destruction during the record-breaking bushfires in NSW."

https://www.smh.com.au/environment/cons ... 53rom.html


So they survived millions of years by themselves, but since their discovery 25 years ago, they need human protection?


Given that they are threatened by the results of human activity (climate change due to greenhouse gases), human protection is warranted. In fact, the whole planet needs protection from humans.


.. and yet they flourished in the Jurassic period, when CO2 was 5x the levels it is now, and average temperatures were significantly higher.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby ribuck » Thu 16 Jan, 2020 5:57 pm

I'm not losing sleep over this.

The Wollemi Pine is restricted to specialised habitats in rainforest communities in deep sandstone gorges ... A regime of disturbance is operating within this habitat. It appears to consist of major events over a long time frame such as catastrophic events (fire events, rock falls and tree falls) and individual tree deaths, which produce the canopy gaps that may be necessary for successful regeneration

http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/s ... n_id=64545
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby gayet » Thu 16 Jan, 2020 6:31 pm

The protection is primarily from humans. The restricted access is to limit the potential damage from and by humans. Walking in phytophera on boots, tents, pegs etc would be the primary concern. Then just the actions of idiots. Little is known about the finer details of the conditions needed for survival and growth, so limits on external influences is essential.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 16 Jan, 2020 6:35 pm

Nice story with video on smh.com.au on the battle to save the pines over this fire season.

Only thing I'm a bit wary of is they show aerial shots of their location featuring some distinctive topography.

Hopefully the aerials are not wide enough for some bright spark to begin examining topo and sat maps and then speculate to the pines location on social media.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby Neo » Thu 16 Jan, 2020 7:21 pm

If anyone is skilled enough to discern the location from some close up photos, they deserve to enjoy finding the last stronghold.
Wollemi is a great big area with many many gullies!
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby north-north-west » Thu 16 Jan, 2020 8:03 pm

duncanm wrote:
north-north-west wrote:
duncanm wrote:So they survived millions of years by themselves, but since their discovery 25 years ago, they need human protection?


Given that they are threatened by the results of human activity (climate change due to greenhouse gases), human protection is warranted. In fact, the whole planet needs protection from humans.


.. and yet they flourished in the Jurassic period, when CO2 was 5x the levels it is now, and average temperatures were significantly higher.


Just need a "CO2 is good for plants", and we have a full climate change denial bingo card.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby tom_brennan » Fri 17 Jan, 2020 7:30 am

duncanm wrote:.. and yet they flourished in the Jurassic period, when CO2 was 5x the levels it is now, and average temperatures were significantly higher.


...and Australia was much wetter, and was still part of Gondwana. We're not exactly recreating the conditions that the pines evolved/thrived in!
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby duncanm » Fri 17 Jan, 2020 8:04 am

tom_brennan wrote:
duncanm wrote:.. and yet they flourished in the Jurassic period, when CO2 was 5x the levels it is now, and average temperatures were significantly higher.


...and Australia was much wetter, and was still part of Gondwana. We're not exactly recreating the conditions that the pines evolved/thrived in!


true.

My point is they've lasted a very very long time.. this latest fire is not really anything special.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby north-north-west » Fri 17 Jan, 2020 8:44 am

duncanm wrote:My point is they've lasted a very very long time.. this latest fire is not really anything special.


And yet all the experts - senior firefighters, fire ecologists and the like - insist that it is.
Dinosaurs lasted a very long time. They still eventually encountered a change in conditions which they couldn't handle.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby duncanm » Fri 17 Jan, 2020 10:30 am

north-north-west wrote:
duncanm wrote:My point is they've lasted a very very long time.. this latest fire is not really anything special.


And yet all the experts - senior firefighters, fire ecologists and the like - insist that it is.
Dinosaurs lasted a very long time. They still eventually encountered a change in conditions which they couldn't handle.


Really ?
https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/-/me ... 050262.pdf

Fire History and Frequency
Fire has long been a regular feature of the Park’s environment. Fire history records for Wollemi NP
date back to 1957. Little fire history information is available for the Park prior to major fires in 1957.
Records have been compiled from NPWS original maps and incident reports, NSW Rural Fire
Service, NSW State Forests and anecdotal evidence from NPWS staff, local fire brigade members,
and Park neighbours. This data is stored in Geographic Information System (GIS) data bases and
used in fire management planning and suppression operations.
Bush fire Ignitions
Wollemi NP generally has a high ignition potential (NSW BFCC, 1998) with an average of 20 fires
per year.
..
As a result of bush fires within the Park, the current ‘time since last fire’ age classes for Wollemi
NP show that over half of the Park was burnt in the last 10 years.

...
The Wollemi Pine, Wollemia nobilis was discovered in late 1994 and is a local endemic species. It
occurs in a remote section of Coachwood-Sassafras Warm Temperate Rainforest in a deep
sheltered canyon of the park. It is assumed that hot fires will kill individuals and that catastrophic
fire is a threat to the known populations, however, there is evidence of the site being exposed to a
fire event in the past. An appropriate disturbance regime may be required to ensure the long-term
viability of populations in the wild.
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby LachlanB » Fri 17 Jan, 2020 10:55 am

duncanm wrote:
north-north-west wrote:
duncanm wrote:My point is they've lasted a very very long time.. this latest fire is not really anything special.


And yet all the experts - senior firefighters, fire ecologists and the like - insist that it is.
Dinosaurs lasted a very long time. They still eventually encountered a change in conditions which they couldn't handle.


Really ?
https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/-/me ... 050262.pdf

Fire History and Frequency
Fire has long been a regular feature of the Park’s environment. Fire history records for Wollemi NP
date back to 1957. Little fire history information is available for the Park prior to major fires in 1957.
Records have been compiled from NPWS original maps and incident reports, NSW Rural Fire
Service, NSW State Forests and anecdotal evidence from NPWS staff, local fire brigade members,
and Park neighbours. This data is stored in Geographic Information System (GIS) data bases and
used in fire management planning and suppression operations.
Bush fire Ignitions
Wollemi NP generally has a high ignition potential (NSW BFCC, 1998) with an average of 20 fires
per year.
..
As a result of bush fires within the Park, the current ‘time since last fire’ age classes for Wollemi
NP show that over half of the Park was burnt in the last 10 years.

...
The Wollemi Pine, Wollemia nobilis was discovered in late 1994 and is a local endemic species. It
occurs in a remote section of Coachwood-Sassafras Warm Temperate Rainforest in a deep
sheltered canyon of the park. It is assumed that hot fires will kill individuals and that catastrophic
fire is a threat to the known populations, however, there is evidence of the site being exposed to a
fire event in the past. An appropriate disturbance regime may be required to ensure the long-term
viability of populations in the wild.


The key is intensity and frequency, not just either on their own. Yes there is evidence of fire in the Wollemi Pine stand, but how intense was it? My guess is that it wasn't very intense, or the trees would have been toast. There's a reason they're only found in one canyon in Wollemi NP!

This fire is unique because at least 80% of the GBMWHA has burnt in a single, intense fire event made up of several concurrent fires. That hasn't happened before- much of the mosaic of past fires would be cooler, less intense burns. Plus, it's worthwhile pointing out that this is the continuation (culmination?) of a trend of hotter and more frequent fires. Not surprising then that there has been significant fire activity over the last 10 years, considering climate change!
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby LachlanB » Fri 17 Jan, 2020 11:02 am

wildwanderer wrote:Nice story with video on smh.com.au on the battle to save the pines over this fire season.

Only thing I'm a bit wary of is they show aerial shots of their location featuring some distinctive topography.

Hopefully the aerials are not wide enough for some bright spark to begin examining topo and sat maps and then speculate to the pines location on social media.


Hmm, is it just me, or has one of the aerial piccies disappeared since the other day? The one with the burnt T-shaped valley, and this guy checking the small pine (https://www.facebook.com/NSWNationalPar ... =3&theater) improbably Photoshopped onto the cliff-face?
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Re: Wild Wollemi pines, are they really burnt?

Postby duncanm » Fri 17 Jan, 2020 11:22 am

LachlanB wrote:The key is intensity and frequency, not just either on their own. Yes there is evidence of fire in the Wollemi Pine stand, but how intense was it? My guess is that it wasn't very intense, or the trees would have been toast. There's a reason they're only found in one canyon in Wollemi NP!

This fire is unique because at least 80% of the GBMWHA has burnt in a single, intense fire event made up of several concurrent fires. That hasn't happened before- much of the mosaic of past fires would be cooler, less intense burns. Plus, it's worthwhile pointing out that this is the continuation (culmination?) of a trend of hotter and more frequent fires. Not surprising then that there has been significant fire activity over the last 10 years, considering climate change!


I agree with all of the above, with one exception:

"That hasn't happened within recent recorded history"

It is supremely arrogant of us to assume that the last (50, 200 ?) years of history on fires in the wollemi are somehow unique.

Core samples of the older trees would likely inform us...
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