Allosyncarpia ternata

Allosyncarpia ternata, known as Anbinik to the Kundedjnyenghmi-speaking people of Western Arnhem Land is an ancient and magnificent tree endemic to the Top End of the Northern Territory and in particular to Kakadu National Park and the adjacent Western Arnhem Land Plateau. Its origins parallel those of the Eucalypts, of which it is a distant relative. It is a plant sensitive to fire and the gorges and gullies of the plateau have provided refuges from wildfire. Flying across the plateau we see Anbinik providing a closed canopy within extensive areas of gorges. Creeks, sometimes spring-fed and permanent and others only seasonal, meander through these gorges under the Anbinik and in the deep shade conditions are cool and pleasant. Anbinik has also survived in patches on flat ground amongst Eucalypt forest, true relictual stands from a time when the climate was wetter and when Anbinik extended much more widely. Its survival in the face of wildfire can perhaps be attributed to particular fire protection management by the indigenous people, past and present. Indigenous people today are working with scientists to protect the isolated stands of Anbinik. They speak reverently of these trees and say “our old people loved the shade and comfort of the Anbinik. When we work to protect these trees we remember the affection our old people had for them”.