Even trees die, usually of old age, I mean nothing lives for ever.

Of course there are some very old trees about. There is a bristlecone pine somewhere in the White Mountains of California named Methuselah which is 4,723 years old. (There was an even older one called Prometheus which turned out to 4,950 years old, but the U.S. Forest Service allowed that one to be felled in 1964.) The Japanese claim to have an ever older tree, a cedar on Yakushima Island called Jomon-Sugi which is supposed to be between 6,300 or 7,200 years old.

But they are exceptions; most trees die after about a hundred or a hundred fifty years (depending on the precise species naturally).

Even trees die, and even dead trees have their defenders.

An "environmental protestor" by the name of Eve Chrysalis chained herself to a fallen oak and vowing to stay there until "this insane killing of dead trees stops".

(By the sound of it, there were a bunch of protestors who had followed the usual practice of climbing up some tall redwood trees to prevent them being cut down, and another lot who were to scared of heights to get too far off the ground and preferred to chain themselves to a nice horizontal piece of timber and keep their feet firmly on the ground.)

Even trees die, even Australia's largest tree named El Grande, located on the island of Tasmania and almost four hundred years old. The local forestry service were conducting what is described as a "routine burn-off"that got out of hand, and oops, accidentally cooked El Grande to death.

(Although the authorities deny its dead and say that it's merely charred.)

Some people are unhappy; "If they can't look after one tree, how can they be trusted to take care of a forest?"

Because even trees die, and when one dies it just leaves room to plant another.

Which would you grieve over the most; the death of your aging father or the death of your young child?


http://www.scrappleface.com/MT/archives/000543.html http://www.geobop.com/world/na/us/nv/Tree.htm http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/2953448.stm

On the life expectancy of trees:

Most trees do not die at roughly 150 years of age. For most trees, in fact, age 150 is a time of steady growth and phenomenal seed production, equivalent to the late teens in humans. Most tree species have natural lifespans of about 400-500 years, and there are a good number of species which live thousands of years. Bristlecone pines, redwoods, sequoias, limber pines and Ponderosa pines all have life expectancies of over 1000 years. Even the common oak frequently lives to celebrate its millennial birthday. As the saying goes, “Oak takes 300 years to grow, 300 years it stays, 300 years it takes to decline.”

There are some yews in Scotland that may be as old as the Methuselah bristlecone pine. It is impossible to tell their exact age, as yews do not always form annual rings like most tree species, and the centres of the older specimens are hollow. Mitchell’s Rule, which states that the girth of most trees grows ½" - 1" per year, can be used to estimate most trees’ age, but yews are a notable exception to Mitchell’s Rule. According to most estimations, yews grow an average of 5 mm per year in youth, slowing to 3 mm in later years. Some yews are also known to have stopped growing for up to 300 years at a time. (Don’t go chopping down that old yew just because it hasn’t grown in years and it sounds a little hollow - this is perfectly normal yew behaviour.)

Based on estimated annual growth of 3-5 mm per year, and allowing for episodes of zero growth, the Fortingall Yew is estimated to be roughly 5000 years old. This is, of course, an extremely rough approximation, and a disputed one at that, but the estimate of Methuselah’s age is also an educated guess. (As far as I know, that age is estimated to be 4600 years, but it’s possible that new findings have superseded my information.)

Source: THOMAS, P. (2000). Trees: Their Natural History. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Even trees die

I stepped in dark and saw that I had found
A hoary oak tree, warring with the sky,
Then caught a root and fell through lashing limb
To scar my hands upon the rocky ground,
And feel that I would never leave the gloom.

Upon its trunk, the scars of smoke and fight.
A summer sun was blocked by its green crown
Because it felt the ground could do without
The sun at day, or starry sky at night.
This patch of hill, at least, it could consume.

In sickness leaking sap from gnarled trunk
Not felled from high, but rotted all around.
No useful wood did I expect to find
Inside its heart - all black, withered, and shrunk.
The evil is that shadow hides our doom.

The forest silent, watching when it fell
And fire turned its rotting wood to ash.
Where it once stood the yellow sun beats down,
And burnt or not my skin can hardly tell.
The undergrowth now overgrows its tomb.

What I called shadow, others knew as shade,
While from my heels a thin shadow is seen.
If I held up my arms could I become
The dark longevity that nature made?
Trees die, and when one dies it just leaves room.

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