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World's biggest, oldest trees are dying

Published on Dec 7, 2012 10:43 AM
 
A view of the forest in French Guyana, near Dorlin, on Dec 2, 2012. Scientists on Friday warned of an alarming increase in the death rates of giant, old trees in most types of forests. Old trees harbour harbour and sustain countless birds and wildlife. -- PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - Scientists on Friday warned of an alarming increase in the death rates of the largest living organisms on the planet, the giant, old trees that harbour and sustain countless birds and wildlife.

Research by universities in Australia and the United States, published in Science, said ecosystems worldwide were in danger of losing forever their largest and oldest trees unless there were policy changes to better protect them.

"It's a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest," said Mr David Lindenmayer from the Australian National University, the lead author of a study into the problem.

"Just as large-bodied animals such as elephants, tigers, and cetaceans have declined drastically in many parts of the world, a growing body of evidence suggests that large old trees could be equally imperilled." Mr Lindenmayer, along with colleagues from the James Cook University in Australia and Washington University in America, undertook their study after examining Swedish forestry records going back to the 1860s.

 
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