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Chile could be home to world's oldest tree, study suggests

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STORY: This lush forest in southern Chile

might be home to the world’s oldest tree

The alerce tree is known as “great grandfather”

It could be more than 5,000 years old

according to a new study

GLOBAL CLIMATE AND ECOSYSTEM EXPERT, DR. JONATHAN BARICHIVICH, SAYING:

“This method tells us that 80% of all possible growth trajectories give us an age of this living tree greater than 5,000 years. There is only a 20% chance that the tree is younger. If one compares it with the trees already dated where we count all the rings, it will make it one of the oldest living trees on the planet. In that case, though, we can’t compare them straightforward since we can’t count all the tree’s rings. But using scientific methods we are closer to a real answer, and we can apply the same method to other trees with the same problem.”

Barichivich says the study suggests

the tree is up to 5,484 years old

He’s concerned about the tree’s prominence

GLOBAL CLIMATE AND ECOSYSTEM EXPERT, DR. JONATHAN BARICHIVICH, SAYING:

“Regarding the conservation of these unique trees, which are rare and wonderful, in the United States there’s one dated long ago which spot remains unknown, since they want to avoid any damage. In the alerce’s case, the location is known and that has brought thousands of people there to see it and they leave the observation platform, step on the tree's roots and even take pieces of its bark. Bottom line, it’s like a specimen displayed in a zoo in terrible conditions.”

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