December 16, 2012

Biggest trees dying faster and faster

A new report suggests that the world’s biggest and oldest trees are dying at an increasingly alarming rate

Recent research shows that our largest, mightiest and oldest trees are dying off at an increasing rate. The research – undertaken right around the world at all latitudes (from Yosemite National Park in California, the African savanna, the Brazilian rain forest, Europe and boreal forests) – has alarmed scientists and environmentalists alike.

The study’s authors – Lindemayer and Franklin – urge science to implement more research into the matter as a matter of urgency. The cause of rapid ancient tree die-off they believe is due to a combination of factors: hotter, drier climate; logging; land clearing; changes in fire prevention and management policies; insects and diseases.

Large old trees are among the biggest organisms on Earth and act as keystone structures in most of our environments: forests, woodlands, savannas, agricultural landscapes and even many urban areas. However, a new study recently published in Science journal claims that populations of large old trees are rapidly declining in many parts of the world, with serious implications for ecosystem integrity and biodiversity.


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