There are numerous threats to our plant life and trees in today’s world, the greatest of which being industry and climate change. In regions that have particularly old, beautiful and/or significant trees, government regulation and action may be necessary to preserve their beauty and cultural significance for generations to come.
Consider, for example, the giant redwoods and sequoias of the western United States, the ancient trees of the Pacific Northwest forests, or the beautiful mangrove trees located all over the world. Tourists come from all over the world to see these trees and have an awe-inspiring, natural experience.
It is our responsibility to preserve these trees for our children, their children and generations beyond them to enjoy and appreciate.
Preservation Efforts Underway
There are a variety of conservation efforts underway across the world to preserve these trees by either curbing carbon emissions to stall climate change, or to implement regulations that prevent these trees from being cut down.
Here in Canada, for example, the British Columbia Ministry of Forests aims to strengthen a legacy tree policy meant to preserve some of the massive cedar and fir trees in the province, specifically on Vancouver Island. Environmentalists have lodged heavy criticism at the government for allowing B.C. Timber Sales to auction off cutting areas on Vancouver Island that include some of these historic, ancient trees.
Organizations like the Ancient Forest Alliance and the Wilderness Committee want to preserve these trees, some of which are up to 1,000 years old, because they are integral for British Columbia’s ecosystems and are culturally significant for the First Nations.
Why These Efforts Are Important
If governments and activists do not take the appropriate efforts to preserve these ancient trees, they will begin to die off forever.
The impact of climate change on some of these ancient trees has most recently been seen in Africa, where nine of the continent’s 13 largest and oldest baobab trees collapsed and died within just 12 years.
The baobab tree is often referred to as Africa’s “tree of life,” because of their importance to both animals and humans. Their leaves are often boiled and eaten much like spinach, and the bark is used for cloth, rope, baskets and medications. The trees also act as sources of water, fruit and shelter, and are frequently used in ceremonies.
The oldest tree in the study was Panke, a giant baobab in Zimbabwe with a sacred past. Researchers believe it to have been 2,450 to 2,500 years old, but the tree died in 2011. Scientists say these deaths happening so close together is “unprecedented,” and that climate change is the most likely cause.
It is our responsibility as humans to take whatever steps necessary to preserve these trees for future generations, so they can reap the benefits from them that their ancestors have for thousands of years.
For more information about tree preservation efforts happening around the world, contact one of the Soil Advocates specialists. Together we can continue to enjoy and protect these treasures.