Rings on Trees Reveal More Than Just Age
What is the oldest living tree in Minnesota?
1,452 years, White Cedar, Boundary Waters (The Vikings came to power 250 years later)
Oldest Living tree in Minnesota
How old is the oldest living tree on earth?
4,844 years, Bristle Cone Pine, California (The time of the ancient Egyptians)
Young and Old Bristle Cone Pines
What is the oldest tree on record?
8,500 years old, Americas (Predates the beginning of recorded history)
Trees are long-lived organisms. A lot of information is locked in their rings. Trees record droughts, fire, frost, and flood events over the millennia. Tree rings help us understand changes over time spans that are unimaginable in a single person's lifetime. Only trees that are growing in temperate regions (a separate summer and winter) that put on a visible ring can be counted. And big is not necessarily the same as old; often you get very large trees that are just fast-growing. These are the trees that live hard and die young.
But dendrochronology (tree ring dating) is a lot more than just counting tree rings. It is a science that uses information that is encoded in the physical and chemical structure of these annual growth layers that trees lay down. By studying rings we can better understand how the environment affects trees and what trees can tell us about how our environment changes over time. Tree rings may eventually help researchers to recognize the magnitude and speed of climate change across the globe.
For more information, visit Keepers of Prometheus: The World's Oldest Tree.
Thank's for reading. Happy Planting!
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