Green - Africa's Baobab Trees Theatened By Climate Change
Several examples of one of the world's largest and longest-living trees, the African Baobab, appear to be dying off at an alarming rate. Climate change appears to be the cause.
According to a paper published in the Nature Plants journal, environmental researchers from Romania, South Africa, and the United States reported that nine of the 13 oldest Baobabs they were studying had either died, or suffered major damage as some of their oldest parts and stems had collapsed and died.
Baobabs can live for up to 3,000 years, and the dead trees were aged 1,100 to 2,500 years. All the dead trees were located in the south of the continent, in Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia. Four of them were among the continent's oldest.
"It is definitely shocking and dramatic to experience during our lifetime the demise of so many trees with millennial ages," said the study's co-author Adrian Patrut of Romania's Babes-Bolyai University, who noted that "there were no signs of disease". Because the deaths occurred as the southern climate got hotter and drier, researchers said they suspect the demise "may be associated at least in part with significant modifications of climate conditions that affect southern Africa in particular.