Trees are an essential part of life. They play a vital role in producing oxygen for humans and other living things on earth. The magical process of turning carbon dioxide into the oxygen we breathe cannot happen without trees. Other roles and benefits that trees have are they stabilize the soil and provide us with the materials for tools and shelter.
The importance of trees can be lost for those living in a city where space is limited. But the fact is trees can provide a lot of benefits when placed in a bustling city by cleaning the air and providing shade to lower surface temperature that results in more efficient use of air conditioning.
On the 21 of November, the world celebrates world tree day. A whole day dedicated to remembering the importance of trees and their role in the continuation of life on earth. According to Waste4Change, it was made to commemorate and honor J. Sterling Morton, former USA Secretary of Agriculture and known nature lover that advocates for the importance of trees.
J. Sterling Morton was so passionate about the importance of trees and urged individuals and civic groups to plant them. In 1872, he even proposed a tree-planting holiday that continues to this day, known as Arbor Day. He famously wrote that “Other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future”. Arbor Day is also celebrated all around the world like in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and China.
The Five Oldest Trees in the World
Trees are some of the longest-living species on earth. It can live anywhere from less than 100 years to more than a few thousand years, giving us a link between the past and present. As it grows, trees will have what’s called an annual ring on its trunk. This ring can signify the number of years it’s been growing.
It can also work as a memory log of the tree’s life. Since trees are sensitive to climate conditions such as temperature, moisture, and sunlight, their growth reacts to these factors. A period of drought, heavy rainfall, or fire can have an imprint on trees as it grows, giving scientists some information about the area’s local climate in the past.
Now let’s take a peek at these five incredible trees that have lived through the rise and fall of civilization, survived the changing climates, and persevered through the development of the human industry.
- Jōmon Sugi
Located in Yakushima, Japan, this cypress or better known as the sugi tree in Japan is considered the oldest tree in the world. According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, the tree is anywhere between 2.500 to 7.000 years old. With a circumference of 16,4 meters and 25,3 meters in height, the tree is thought to be growing since the prehistoric era. After the tree discovery back in 1968, the island was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 to protect the tree and the forest area surrounding it.
- Chestnut Tree of One Hundred Horses
Located in Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy, this chestnut tree is believed to be between 2.000 to 4.000 years old. The tree’s age is particularly impressive because Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and it is located only 8 km from Mount Etna’s crater, making its age the true testament to how resilient the tree is.
- General Sherman
This tree is believed to be around 2.000 years old and considered the mightiest giant sequoia still standing. Located in Sequoia National Park, California, USA, this tree is the largest known living single-stem tree in the world measured by volume. It stands 83 meters tall and over 11 meters in diameter at the base.
- Gran Abuelo
Located on Chile’s southern coast, this oldest living Alerce or Fitzroya cupressoides tree is 3.646 years old. The towering tree species are native to the Andes mountains. And while the surroundings also consist of aged alerce, the Gran Abuelo is considered the oldest, thus the name Gran Abuelo or great grandfather. Sadly over the centuries, the larger specimens were heavily logged making it harder to know how old these specimens of the tree can get.
- Sarv-e Abarqu
Another cypress tree, this one is located in Yazd province, Iran. The Sarv-e Abarqu also called Zoroastrian Sarv is estimated to be at least 4.500 years old. It is 25 meters in height and with a circumference of 18 meters, making this tree one of the giant trees in the world. Different from other trees on this list that can be found in the middle of a forest, the Sarv-e Abarqu is located in the middle of a barren landscape towering over buildings around it. Making it visible for visitors on their way to the Yazd province.
These are some of the oldest known living trees in the world, are any of them on your bucket list of wonders to see?