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Earth's Oldest and Biggest Trees Disappearing December 14, 2012
Satellite Image
“It is a very, very disturbing trend. We are talking about the loss of the biggest living organisms on the planet, of the largest flowering plants on the planet, of organisms that play a key role in regulating and enriching our world.” — Bill Laurance, James Cook University.
Many of the world’s oldest and largest trees are dying at unprecedented rates in a trend that could endanger countless birds and other wildlife that depend upon them.

A report by three leading researchers in the journal Science warns that trees between 100 and 300 years old are being killed in vast numbers by pests, disease, logging and climate change.

“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” says lead author David Lindenmayer of the Australian National University.

Co-author Bill Laurance, of Australia’s James Cook University, points out that big trees are sources of abundant food for many creatures in the form of fruits, foliage and nectar.

The scientists say further research is urgently needed to find ways to stop the alarming loss of old-growth trees at all latitudes and in most landscapes.

The researchers compared the global decline of the big trees to the tragic loss of the world’s largest mammals, such as elephants, rhinos, tigers and whales.

Photo: Paul Merry - Flickr