Death Rates Among The World’s Biggest Trees Are Soaring, Research Finds

December 8, 2012 in Geology & Climate, Plants

The death rate of the world’s largest and oldest trees has been rising significantly in recent years, according to new research. These big old trees often form the basis of many ecosystems and contribute significantly to their health and the health of the other species that live in them.


A new report, just released by three of the world’s leading ecologists, is warning that the “alarming” and rapid increase in the death rates of trees 100-300 years old will have very negative effects on the health of ecosystems around the world. The deaths aren’t confined to any particular areas either, they are spread out amongst the forests, savannahs, woodlands, farming regions, and cities of the world.

“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” says lead author Professor David Lindenmayer of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and Australian National University.

“Large old trees are critical in many natural and human-dominated environments. Studies of ecosystems around the world suggest populations of these trees are declining rapidly,” he and colleagues Professor Bill Laurance of James Cook University, Australia, and Professor Jerry Franklin of Washington University, USA, say in their Science report.

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