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The majority of Lord Howe Island has been closed to visitors due to a plant fungus outbreak

In December 2019, Lord Howe Island off the coast of Australia was closed to visitors after an outbreak of a plant fungus known as Phytophthora cinnamomi. The fungus is a soil-borne pathogen that can cause severe damage to the island’s native plants, which account for about 80 percent of the island’s vegetation. The closure was implemented in an effort to protect the island’s fragile ecosystem. The closure was originally planned to last until mid-2020, but was extended until the end of 2020.

In the meantime, the island’s local government took measures to protect the island’s flora and fauna. These included revoking permits for weed control and increasing the frequency of inspections of the island’s native plants. The government also began a project to restore areas of the island that were damaged by the outbreak.

In December 2020, the island reopened to visitors with new restrictions in place. These include a limit on the number of visitors allowed at any one time and a requirement for visitors to observe social distancing measures.