Scientists Say One of the Planet’s Oldest and Largest Organisms is Dying

21 October, 2018, 18:53 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • The trees which originate from a single underground parent clone cover 106 acres in Utah

The giant trembles. It is the nickname of Pando, the largest organism in the world.

And the approaches that work to protect Pando could be extended to aspens around the world, he said. Scientists think it's anywhere between 80,000 and 1 million years old.

In the Fishlake National Forest, this is exactly what Pando has done over the course of thousands of years.

It may look like a simple forest, albeit a huge one, but the Pando aspen clone is actually one vast organism, and the bad news is that it's dying.

To be clear, according to new research published in PLOS One, it isn't necessarily human disregard or negligence that has threatened the Trembling Giant. "The Pando clone presents a unique opportunity for understanding browse mechanisms in a forest where tree genotype, closely aligned with growth and chemical defense, is uniform". At the time of the analysis, the researchers couldn't find any sample-size trees that didn't have their tops eaten.

Humans have impacted the natural balance of the region by killing off numerous predators that hunt mule deer.

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In this new study, a group of researchers measured the health of various parts of the forest, such as by counting the number of living versus dead trees, counting the number of new stems and tracking the feces of animals that dropped in for a bite. Then, there are ranchers who don't stop their cattle from grazing on the trees. "Because of human presence, deer are more safe, which causes a localised overabundance of the animals". In 1939 he was thick, and since 1970 between the trees there are more gaps.

They are nicknamed "quaking aspens", a result of flattened leaves trembling in windy conditions to lessen the chances of branches breaking, and can also grow over wide areas from a single seed by having rhizomatic roots.

Pando is capable of regenerating, but it can't bounce back without keeping wildlife out.

But really, "Pando is failing because of human decisions", Rogers said.

"They don't live as long [as other trees], and they regrow", he told us. Each time a root systems dies, a new, complete identical one is spouted to take its place, very much alike to the hair on your head. "When trees are dying and you don't see any regrowth, that's a red flag". However, a large area of Pando is still suffering from "raids" of deer and cattle.

You might assume that climate change is responsible for Pando's decline but that's not the full story. Now, most of the grounds in Pando are set aside for recreational uses like camping, where the browsers are protected from hunting.

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