Tasmania has two native cypress pine species. Oyster Bay pine (Callitris rhomboidea
) woodlands and forests occur along the east coast from Cape Pillar to the Douglas-Apsley National Park and in the Furneaux Group. The threatened Tasmanian endemic, South Esk pine (Callitris oblonga
), is found near a few rivers in the east of the state, including the Apsley, Swan, St Pauls and South Esk, where it forms a low woodland or forest community. Native cypress pines can be found as the dominant trees in woodland and forest. However, they can also form a major understorey component of eucalypt forest, and they occasionally occur in heath.
Both species are very hardy.
The Oyster Bay pine is drought resistant and establishes readily in moderately shaded, undisturbed areas. The South Esk pine can survive flood damage and is highly frost resistant. Both species hold seed in woody cones that release the seed after the branches die, enabling them to regenerate after fire. However, individual trees are easily killed by fire. They take up to a decade to set new seed after germination so they can disappear from a site if fires occur in close succession.
Where to see Oyster Bay pine and South Esk pine woodland and forest
The best places to see South Esk pine are in the riparian forest at Royal George on the Old Coach Road and from the Apsley River Bridge on the Coles Bay Road. Oyster Bay pine is common around Orford. Paradise Gorge, just below the dam on the Prosser River, houses a magnificent stand of Oyster Bay pine, which is currently replacing the local eucalypts. There are also accessible stands just south of Swansea and at the southern entrance of the Douglas-Apsley National Park.
Biodiversity values of Oyster Bay Pine and South Esk pine woodland and forest
The South Esk pine and vegetation containing it are threatened. It largely occurs on private land and is reserved only in the Douglas-Apsley National Park. Many other threatened plants occur with South Esk pine. Vegetation containing Oyster Bay pine is more widespread and is present in many reserves, although the level of protection is inadequate.
Many rare or threatened plant species occur in Oyster Bay pine and South Esk pine woodlands and forests, including Midlands mimosa (Acacia axillaris
) and small-leaf spyridium (Spyridium microphyllum
Refer to Threatened Species
for more information.
Management issues in Oyster Bay Pine and South Esk pine woodland and forest
The two key issues for maintaining Oyster Bay pine and South Esk pine woodland and forest are:
- avoiding their elimination by using an appropriate fire regime
- woody weed invasion, particularly gorse and willow
Excluding fire is the best management option for native cypress pine woodland and forest. If a stand is accidentally burnt and the trees killed, exclude all stock until the new plants are out of their reach. Then try to ensure that fire does not recur until the regenerating trees have ample mature cones. If your stand of Oyster Bay pine contains mature trees with most of their foliage well above ground level, low intensity fire or grazing may help to prevent fires that will kill the trees. However, this will also prevent any regeneration.
Woody weed invasion is rarely a problem in Oyster Bay pine stands.
However, South Esk pine stands are usually badly invaded by gorse and occasionally willow. Dense understoreys of gorse can prevent regeneration of the pines. They are also highly flammable which increases the probability of fire destroying the stand.
See also Weeds
on this site for more information.