Miena cider gum conservation program
The Miena cider gum is an iconic frost tolerant eucalypt found only around the edges of frosty low-lying areas within a 20 kilometre radius of Miena, a small village on the shores of the Great Lake.
There are only a small amount of Miena cider gum stands left. The fires in 2019 severely impacted the health of these subpopulations, with only one stand remaining in reasonable health. The Derwent Catchment Project is leading a conservation program to improve the resilience of the remaining Miena cider gums with support from Hydro Tasmania and the Tasmanian State Government (NRE) through funding from the Australian Government.
The Miena cider gum is an iconic tree of Tasmania’s Central Highlands that has evolved to be the most frost tolerant of the eucalypts. It has a rich cultural history of use by the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, who would drink the rich sugary sap or ‘cider’ that leaks from crevices in the trunk. The Miena cider gums are also significant habitat trees – when the sap is running the air around the trees is buzzing with a diversity of insects. Birds and other animals have also been observed to drink the sap.
Since the early 90s, it has faced a gradual decline in numbers, leading to its current listing as an endangered species under state and Australian government legislation.
Climate change is the overarching threat to the Miena cider gum as it is sensitive to drought and the warmer temperatures are decreasing its resilience.
With warmer temperatures come less harsh and repetitive frost events to keep the insect populations at bay and when the Miena cider gums become stressed, they are severely attacked by sap sucking and boring insects. Wildfires have had a major impact on the cider gums, a threat that will increase under climate change. Possums are compounding these issues by eating new stems and leaves in the canopy of established trees. As the health and number of the species declines there is less genetic diversity in the seedlings, which causes them to be weaker and less resilient.
Our conservation program aims to increase the resilience of the remaining stands by:
- installing bands or floppy-top fences around trees to reduce stress from possums
- protecting new seedlings with cages
- fire management planning for landholders to reduce threat from wildfire
- ensuring a genetically representative seed collection is stored with the Tasmanian Seed Conservation Centre
For more information about this program contact Eve Lazarus email@example.com
Our partners include a wide range of industry, NGOs, government and community organisations collaborating to make a difference on the ground.