Humans have found a way to kill the world’s largest living organism

Olive Hawkins
October 21, 2018

When damaged, aspens send out hormonal signals saying, "Hey roots, time to make replacements."ImageResearchers surveying the forest found that the older trees were dying, as expected, but the younger ones weren't replacing them.CreditLance Oditt, Studio 47.60 NorthPando is constantly reproducing, which is essential to its resilience".

Nestled in Utah's Fishlake National Forest, the Pando grove, standing roughly 30 meters high and spanning over 100 acres, has survived for at least 80,000 years.

"While Pando has likely existed for thousands of years - we have no method of firmly fixing its age - it is now collapsing on our watch", Professor Paul Rogers, an ecologist at Utah State University, told the Independent. In 1939 he was thick, and since 1970 between the trees there are more gaps. So the forest, to use human terms, is made up "entirely of very elderly senior citizens", Rogers said. And they looked at the amount of scat: "We count shit to see what animals are there and what their relative visitation rates are", Rogers said. The study places the blame on a increased population of herbivorous animals that take to grazing among Pando's trees. This means that the old trees are dying and new ones aren't coming in to fill in the gaps.

Scientists are citing human interference as the fundamental cause of this slow killing.

To mitigate Pando's destruction, the researchers recommend more fencing and deer management. Rogers explained that Pando is not like other trees.

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There is one part of the trembling giant that is thriving. Here, the fence seems to be working.

'In particular, mule deer appear to be finding ways to enter through weak points in the fence or by jumping over the eight-foot barrier. But "the fence is not doing its job, so it's also in a poor state", he said.

Samples and photography cited in the study show that Pando's root system began to thin out 40 to 50 years ago, which is around the time the popuLation of Elk and Deer began to grow in the area. "If we can't manage that 106 acres and restore it, what does that say about our greater interactions with the earth?"More superlative things from natureLargest!"

Mule deer love to feast on the tiny saplings that routinely sprout in Pando's forest.

"We're not talking about just the tree, but we're talking about all the plants and animals dependent on it", Rogers said. One clear lesson emerges here: "we can not independently manage wildlife and forests", said Rogers. The aspens are a hardy organism, Rogers says, and with the right actions the Pando could flourish once again.

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