World's Oldest Trees Dying at Alarming Rate
Research shows 10 times the normal death rate
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2012 7:09 AM CST
A pair of giant redwoods tower above a walkway at the Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, Calif., March 31, 2008.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(Newser) – In what one researcher calls a "very, very disturbing trend," new research finds that the planet's oldest trees have started dying at 10 times the normal rate, a change that could greatly damage the planet's ecosystems and biodiversity. Researchers blame logging, development, drought, and climate change for the decline of 100- to 300-year-old trees, reports AFP, a new reality found at all latitudes on every continent that is home to them.

"Just as large-bodied animals such as elephants, tigers, and cetaceans have declined drastically in many parts of the world, a growing body of evidence suggests that large old trees could be equally imperiled," said the study's lead author. Among the trees at risk: mountain ash in Australia, pine trees in America, California redwoods, and baobabs in Tanzania. And the decline endangers more than just the woods, as up to 30% of birds and animals in some areas find shelter in those large trees. "Their loss could mean extinction for such creatures," says the researcher.
 

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |  
3%
2%
3%
66%
1%
25%