Vandals hack wood from Peak Dale gumwoods

Timber has been illegally sawn from protected gumwood trees at Peak Dale on St Helena.

A 2011 law makes it illegal to take, damage or kill endangered species, including the island’s unique gumwood trees. It will also be illegal under new environmental legislation currently being drafted.

The latest environmental management newsletter says: “The removal of this material results in a direct loss of habitat for all of the endemic invertebrate and lichen species that make the gumwood their home.

“There is also potential for damage to the endemic plants.”

Much of St Helena’s native vegetation has been lost through being cut down for firewood, with some species becoming extinct as a result.

St Helena National Trust describes the gumwood as “one of the iconic conservation causes” on the island.

Hundreds of trees planted in the Millennium Forest project have started to produce their own seedlings, but Peak Dale has the biggest remain fragment of gumwood forest.

However, trees have suffered from competition from invasive species and rat damage, say the trust.

SEE ALSO: Thefts hit effort to revive endangered island plants

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