Boot-washing stations installed to protect ancient bunya pines

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) has installed boot-washing stations at walking track entrances in Bunya Mountains National Park to help protect bunya pines for future times from a potentially devastating soil-based disease.

Ranger Adam Taylor said QPWS had been working with expert plant pathologists to investigate why a number of bunya pines in the national park had become unhealthy or had died.

“Extensive testing of soil and root samples found evidence of two introduced species of Phytophthora, a disease-causing plant pathogen, and scientists think this could be the cause,” Mr Taylor said.

“Phytophthora multivora and Phytophthora cinnamomi are microscopic fungal-like organisms, called water moulds, that live in soil and are spread from place to place in infected soil carried on shoes, machines and other equipment or plants.

“They affect plants by attacking the root system and decreasing the plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients.

“The Bunya Mountains are home to the largest stand of bunya pines remaining in the world and are of great cultural importance to First Nations peoples. It’s important we protect them from harm and stop the disease spreading to other areas within the national park.

“As the first line of defence, QPWS will install boot-washing stations at all walking track entrances throughout the Bunya Mountains National Park so that visitors can clean their boots on their way in and out of the forest.

“At each station, walkers will be able to use a brush to remove any soil before using a non-toxic, non-corrosive and biodegradable disinfectant to clean their boots.

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