Mighty old trees are dying

According to a research conducted on some of the world’s greatest forests like Yosemite National Park in California, the African savanna, the Brazilian rain forest, Europe and led by David Lindenmayer, a professor in Australian National University and an expert in landscape ecology and forest management, the world’s oldest trees are dying off at an alarming rate, around the world at all latitudes.

“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” said David Lindemayer.  

The die-off rate of trees between 100 to 300 years of age is a grave concern, they sustain biodiversity to a greater degree than many other components of the forest. Climate change is one of the biggest reasons for this decline. This infographic by Michael Paukner shows the locations of some of the world’s oldest – and most at risk – trees.


“Big, old trees are not just enlarged young trees,” said Jerry F. Franklin of the University of Washington, a co-author of the study who has studied old-growth forest for 45 years. “Old trees have idiosyncratic features – a different canopy, different branch systems, a lot of cavities, thicker bark and more heartwood. They provide a lot more habitat and niches.”

The study is only the latest among many reports of how climate change and other factors are taking a severe toll on the world’s forests. British Columbia, for example, is ground zero for a giant forest die-off that is occurring across the Rockies. More than 53,000 square miles of forest there has died in the last decade. The largest previous die-off, in the 1980s, spanned 2,300 square miles.



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