Alerce - Earth's (almost) oldest trees
by Melanie Egli, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
In Chile's enchanting forests, we came across some of the oldest living trees known to humanity: Fitzroya cupressoides - better known as Patagonian cypress or Alerce trees. We could hardly believe that some of them are over 3500 years old - can you? And would you think that their trunk circumference only grows a few millimetres per year? Numerous cushions of thick mosses are thriving on its bark and create an entire vertical landscape with hills and valleys way up towards the canopy (which can be at airy heights of 50 m and even more). Simply standing in front of this massive tree, and gazing up to its majestic crown so far away made everyone feel extremely humble, and deeply impressed by how fantastic nature is. Those trees already stood tall and strong long before any of us. Whatever war, catastrophe, or crisis we human beings were occupied with - they were there. Peaceful and sublime - truly TREE-rific.
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Melanie Egli (distributed via imaggeo.egu.eu)