Despite their prevalence in backyards and orchards across Australia and overseas, Macadamia are threatened species, with all four species considered either vulnerable or endangered under Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Government legislation. In the wild, Macadamia trees are generally found in small populations, scattered in rainforest remnants. Clearing for settlement and agriculture has led to the loss of over 80% Macadamia habitat and the trees themselves; though in many areas, the delicious nut provided by some Macadamia species meant they were left standing while the forest around them was cleared. Early conservation efforts in the late 1800s, also led to the planting of nuts from wild trees in backyards across south east Queensland, north east New South Wales and further afield. Understanding the genetic composition of wild trees - both where they naturally occur (in-situ) and where they have been transplanted (ex-situ) is important for conservation and the future of the macadamia industry (which was founded on very few trees and has limited genetic diversity). This project is being undertaken in partnership with the Macadamia Conservation Trust, Brisbane City Council and Hort Innovation.
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