According to the history of the world, it was the nature that was formed first, that they gave a chance to animals and other living things such as mankind to be able to live. Trees were here way before man, and yet, because of man, these trees are slowly dying. This is basically what entails one of the most famous children’s books of all time, Lorax by Dr. Seuss.
Its message definitely brings such a tug into the heart when all the trees in the world were gone and there was nothing left to help people breathe. Unfortunately, this is currently and slowly happening in the real world we are living in it at the moment. Scientists have confirmed that one of the oldest trees in the world is slowly dying.
Baobab trees in South Africa are dying
Tree of Life
Most people who visit Africa try and get a glimpse of the oldest tree in the world, the baobab tree, which is also known as the Tree of Life. It is known for its unusual appearance of being so big, very thick and wide trunk only having leaves and branches upon its tip, unlike other trees. The baobab trees are commonly found with the Savannah regions of Africa, Madagascar, and Australia.
These trees could basically last for thousands of years hence it got its name. It is could grow so huge that in South Africa, they even built a pub inside the thousand-year-old tree. The said pub lasted for about 20 years in the Limpopo province and it has managed to attacked thousands of tourists. However, in 2016, one of the big trunks of the old tree collapsed that of course led to the walls cracking and breaking. That wasn’t just it though, became a couple of months after that another huge branch broke down and they have all collapsed and basically died. This then left half of the tree dead and the pub was no longer open.
This is not the only baobab tree that is dying, in fact over the past few years, a couple of them have been struggling to live. According to the research of Adrian Patrut and his colleagues from the Babes-Bolyai University in Romania, nine out of thirteen oldest baobab trees have died in the last 12 years. It is indeed such a tragic lost considering these trees are basically one of the greatest gifts of nature.
Patrut and his colleagues, who are a mix of researchers from South Africa and the United States, have been tracking and surveying all these trees since 2005, by documenting how they grow as well as how they have gene drying. Based on their research, the baobab tree grows incredibly unique compared to other trees because it weaves together its own stems that make its structure very unusual.
#Baobab trees have more than 300 uses. The leaves, rich in iron, can be boiled and eaten like spinach. The seeds can be roasted to make a coffee substitute or pressed to make oil for cooking or cosmetics https://t.co/JlaZCt3vG1 #AfricaFactFriday pic.twitter.com/i3hoz45Aoe
— The Conversation Africa (@TC_Africa) June 15, 2018
However, according to a botanist from University of Wisconsin David Baum, who contributed to the Biodiversity International publication, almost every single baobab tree in the South African region are covered with scars because elephants usually attack them, however, it manages to stay strong on its own because of its ability to repair itself. Once fixed, it would now then begin with an inverted age sequence that makes the wood older that could last for thousands of years.
Climate Change Is Slowly Taking Over
As to how exactly the oldest trees in the world are dying, environmental scientist Thomas Lovejoy thinks that there could only be one thing that could be harming these trees, and that is climate change. The Tree of Life has seen history way before mankind did, and it is still witnessing it but with climate change, they may not be there anymore for future generations to see.
Unfortunately, this is just a theory and they don’t have enough pieces of evidence that could basically back up that climate change is the culprit. South African baobab trees are not the only ones that are dying, the baobab trees in Zimbabwe are also reportedly dying. However, the trees are said to be turning black before they die, which is an entirely different case than the South African ones, researchers believe that the baobab in Zimbabwe is affected by an unknown fungus. Researchers are still trying to figure out how they could prevent these ancient trees from dying by finding out how they actually die.