By Chris Kidd •
Published: 04 Sep 2020 • 10:18
Italian Oak discovered to be close to 1,000 years old having thrived in harsh conditions on a rocky hillside.
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” – Author Unknown
Trees cover our beautiful planet bringing us life through their creation of the air we breath and it is common knowledge that trees can stand for a long time. However, one tree found in Italy has been standing tall for almost a millennium.
Despite the harsh conditions over the year, the tree that sits on top of a steep rocky precipice, has been subject over the years to snow storms, high winds, and severe droughts.
Through radiocarbon dating the giant has been estimated to be approximately 934 years.
Even on top of such a high area in Italy, there are families of tree that have stood for centuries but this Oak appears to outdate them all substantially. It would appear that some hardwood trees can stand tall for much longer than was originally thought.
“These long-lived trees are witnesses of our past,” says Lucio Calcagnile from the University of Salento, Italy.
“The history of our climate, of solar activity, of the human impact on the environment is registered in their rings and we are sure that other important discoveries are going to come.”
However, though this tree is remarkable because of its age related to the climate it is thought to have endure, it is not the oldest tree on the planet. Incidently, it is not even the oldest hardwood tree on the planet.
Under correct conditions evergreen conifers are thought to be able to survive quite happily for a number of thousands of years.
Prior to the development of carbon dating processes, ring counts of old trees in Sweden and Switerland revealed trees that were roughly 930 years old, 866 years old, and 600 years old respectively, however the method of ring counting is far from accurate.
The process of radiocarcon dating revealed two oak trees in Romania with an age of approximately 645 years old.
Researchers at the Aspromonte National Park in South Italy said, “In the Dendrology Lab we carried out a careful stereoscope screening to identify the oldest rings in our samples,”
“Given the very narrow size of the rings, we had to use a scalpel to collect them.”
Their research discovered five different oaks from the National Park ranged from 570 years to 934 years old.
They continued, “What makes the Aspromonte sessile oaks unique is not only the extraordinary age of Demeter but also the ecological niche that they occupy, which is dramatically different from the plain and hilly territories in central and northern Europe where other old oaks have been found,”
This tree and the research being carried out in the area demonstrate just how robust our planet can be when treated well and allowed to flourish.
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Chris has spent a colourful and varied international career in the Arts followed by a substantial career in Education.
Having moved to Spain in 2019 for a different pace and quality of life with his fiancé, he has now taken up a new and exciting role working with the online department of Euro Weekly News.
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