Macadamia rainforest habitat
Macadamia ternifolia leaf and flowers
Planting the endangered Macadamia jansenii
Don't Macadamias come from Hawaii?
Macadamias natural distribution is confined to coastal ranges and foothills of SE Queensland and NE New South Wales. Macadamia nuts were taken from wild trees in Australia and used to establish the Hawaiian industry.
Why was the Macadamia nut industry pioneered by the Hawaiians?
Actually, Australia pioneered growing of Macadamias in the late 19th century however native pests and disease together with wildfires soon doomed this effort. Hawaii has ideal growing conditions for Macadamias and few of the native pests and disease problems in present in Australia.
Why are Macadamias under threat when there are hundreds of Macadamia nut farms?
Macadamia nut farms grow trees that have predominantly been developed from Hawaiian cultivars which have been derived from nuts taken from just a handful of wild trees of two of the four species of Macadamia. However, all four Macadamia species are under threat of extinction in the wild.
Why conserve wild Macadamias when we have millions of Macadamia nut trees?
Macadamia nut tree cultivars contain a tiny proportion of the genetic diversity present in the wild trees which have evolved over millions of years. The genetic diversity in wild trees represents a resource for development of superior Macadamia nuts and a source of security against pests and diseases which could devastate the nut industry trees.
Why should we conserve Macadamia habitat?
Saving Macadamias in the wild requires conservation of their habitats, which also contain many more rare and threatened species. Rainforest covers only about 5% of Australia but contains more than 50% of our land based biodiversity and form a significant part of our natural heritage which must be protected for future generations.