Posted April 09, 2018 09:11:15 The pine trees that make up the Brooks Mountain Range in southern New South Wales are disappearing from the landscape and scientists are worried that the trees are being trampled by people.
The trees are a crucial part of the landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a favourite for hikers, bush walkers and bird watchers.
They are also a threat to the birds.
A new study says the pine tree population is already at its lowest levels in 100 years, and experts say the species could be extinct by 2045.
“There’s a lot of worry about this,” said Dr Scott Hamer.
“What we’re seeing is an overabundance of the tree canopy.”
Pine trees are one of the oldest trees on Earth, but have been on the decline for more than a century.
Dr Hamer said the number of pine trees in the Brooks Range is declining due to a combination of drought, pests and people.
“They’re not growing anymore because of climate change, which has caused their range to shrink,” he said.
“People are trying to build homes and they’re doing so in a lot more ways than just trees.”
Dr Hameer said the loss of the trees would have dire consequences.
“We know that climate change has an impact on forests, and climate change is a huge factor in the decline of this species,” he explained.
“The loss of these trees, if it doesn’t happen quickly, would cause a catastrophe.”
He said scientists were struggling to understand how climate change was contributing to the loss.
“It’s important that we know that there’s a connection between climate change and the decline, but it’s also important to understand what the cause is,” he concluded.
“And we’re going to need to keep looking at that.”
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