AN ANCIENT species dating back to the last ice age is at risk of fuel reduction burns, climate change and feral goats.
Experts have urged authorities to avoid fuel burns among strands of snow gums at Mount Macedon and the wider regional park.
The trees' understoreys are too sensitive and significant for burns, ecologists Karl Just and Tim D'Ombrain said in a report commissioned for the Macedon Ranges Shire council.
They helped survey snow gum populations after community members raised concerns about climate-induced dieback on Mount Macedon and other parts of the shire.
About 25 trees are likely well over 200 years old but there are at least 2227 confirmed snow gums across the shire, they said.
"We consider the Macedon Ranges Shire to support the largest known concentrations of snow gum in central and western Victoria," report authors said.
The good news is that the species has proven so hardy that overall populations are strong through the shire.
Most of the populations spread through the region are in "relatively good health" and that younger trees are growing on their own.
The bad news is that climate change continues to pose a threat, the report stated.
It has urged no trees be cleared on Mount Macedon unless "absolutely necessary".
"In general, snow gum have smooth bark and a light canopy and so do not pose a high fire risk unless located very close to assets," the report said.
Rock climbers appear to be respecting the trees in the popular Camels Hump area of the mountain.
"However, this area should be regularly monitored and some limited areas may occasionally need to be temporarily closed off if heavy traffic of climbers is causing damage to trees or understorey," the report said.
They also spoke of a group of feral goats spotted during field surveys on one of the slopes.
"These animals appeared to be frequenting this area," the report said.
That could stop the next generation of snow gums growing, they warned.
The ecologists recommended citizen scientists monitor the shire's snow gum strands every five years to keep an eye on populations.
Many of the trees grow in areas close to landholders' properties. Some grow within their land.
Landowners interested in protecting snow gum populations could consider fencing off trees from stock to encourage more to grow.
"Such a fence does not have to be extensive, it could be as small as a 20 x 20m area around a single paddock tree," report authors said.
Most snow gums grow on the sides of roads under the purview of the council, which has "made a firm commitment to protect and manage" them, the report said.
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