Ancient trees under threat
by Alan Harten
July 25, 2009
The National Trust is taking a look at ‘ancient’ trees left in the world to assess their condition and address the threats that they may face in the future and how to best address the threats to preserve the trees.
The UK in particular has cause for concern in that over 60-70% of all trees classified as ancient in Europe are located within the UK borders.
Brian Muelaner, the newly appointed direct of the ancient tree division, said that the trees are important because they host many organisms such as fungi and insects that are important overall in the ecosystem chain.
Muelaner went on to state they are also important for historical and cultural reasons and that a 1,000 year old tree can be destroyed in just a few years due to bad management.
Known threats to trees in general include ca packs which ruin the root systems of trees, farming , and even little factors such as seats or benches that are placed under the trees leading to root erosion. New threats to ancient trees include the long term effects of pollution and climate change.
The Dorset Wildlife Trust is also conducting a similar project that is assessing the condition or ancient trees in the area as well to help preserve them in the future.
Biodiversity manager of the Dorset Wildlife Trust Andrew Pollard stated that at the beginning of the study only 64 trees in the area were listed as ancient tries but through verification and careful studies there are now under 900 that make the shortlist.
Pollard said included in the list are two yew trees located in Bulbarrow and Woolland that are estimated to date back at least 2,000 years.
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