The world’s only known natural stand of wollemi pines has become the first site in NSW to be given special protected status to try to ensure its survival for future generations.
The Guardian reports the environment minister, Matt Kean, will declare the so-called “dinosaur trees” an asset of intergenerational significance after heroic efforts by remote area firefighters in the Blue Mountains world heritage area saved the pines during the 2019-20 bushfire disaster.
The state parliament amended the National Parks and Wildlife Act last year to give the environment minister powers to make such a declaration for environmental or cultural assets whose preservation is important for future generations.
The minister chose the Wollemi pines first because only a few hundred are known to remain in the wild.
Fossil records show Wollemi pines existed up to 200 million years ago.
They were thought to be extinct until the site in the Blue Mountains, the precise location of which is kept secret, was discovered about 30 years ago.
Kean said the new declaration would bolster protection for the site and included a requirement that the government develop a dedicated fire management strategy to ensure the survival of the species.