A US scientist wants the NSW State Government to incorporate parts of the Chichester State Forest into the Barrington Tops National Park.
Dr Roy Halling, the Curator of Mycology at the New York Botanical Garden was in the Dungog region recently, surveying a wide variety of fungi. Dr Halling is a leading expert on macro fungi, particularly boletes.
“I was staggered to learn that the Upper Allyn river forest and great swathes of Antarctic Beech forest near Barraga swamp are not afforded the same level of protection as similar areas in the national park,” Dr Halling said.
“If the NSW State Government had a masterpiece painting, it wouldn’t conserve just a bit of it and forget about the rest. Why is so much of what is one of the world’s most amazing biological hotspots being relegated to NSW State forest?”
Dr Halling was a guest at the Upper Allyn Lister Village, and toured the Chichester State Forest along the upper Allyn River, and adjacent to Barraga Swamp.
He said he understood the area had been subject to extreme temperatures and drought, but he was able to find fungi he had never seen before.
“Fungi are vitally important to trees, as they are the means by which trees can get enough nutrients to grow,” Dr Halling said.
He explained that fungi often act as root extensions, allowing the transference of nutrients not only from a greater area of ground, but even from tree to tree.
“I found an extremely rare type of fungus which might be undescribed in the literature. I don’t know how this fungus interacts with the trees around it, and yet it is growing in an unprotected State Forest.”
He described the scenery as “simply breathtaking.”
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