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Thread: Oldest tree in Europe discovered in the Pollino National Park in Italy

  1. #1
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    2 members found this post helpful.

    Oldest tree in Europe discovered in the Pollino National Park in Italy



    The oldest tree in Europe is enjoying a growth spurt.


    Despite being almost 1,230 years-old, scientists say the weather-beaten pine is still thriving, with substantial growth rings added to its trunk over the last several decades.

    This is despite the tree being subjected to extreme heat and droughts during its lifetime.

    Researchers have nicknamed the plucky pine ‘Italus’.

    They say studying its growth through changing climates could help them better understand how forests will respond to modern climate change.

    According to a new paper published in the journal Ecology, Italus germinated on the rocky slopes of southern Italy in 789 AD — the year the Vikings disembarked on English shores for the first time.

    The tree was recently discovered by researchers from the University of Tuscia who conducted an exhaustive four-year field survey within the Pollino National Park in southern Italy.

    The 1,230 year-old tree is a Heldreich’s pine, which are common in the harsh Pollino landscape.

    Italus has survived a number of different weather conditions over the last millennium, including a colder period in Medieval times, and warmer temperatures more recently.

    It is already clear that recent global warming hasn’t been a setback for the ancient trees, like Italus.

    The millennium-old pine has seen a recent surge in growth.

    Researchers noted that after laying down smaller rings in its trunk for the last few centuries, the ancient pine has grown more substantial rings, which indicates better environmental conditions.

    Gianluca Piovesan of the University of Tuscia believes there are multiple reasons behind this new-found growth spurt.

    Temperatures have remained cooler in the high mountains, which may have saved Italus from the stunted growth observed in recent decades in trees around in the Mediterranean Basin.

    Elsewhere, Piovesan and his team believe a decrease in pollution thanks to recent European laws could have played an important role.

    He said: ‘It’s difficult, because there are few studies about the impact of warm periods on Mediterranean boreal ecosystems.’

    Italus’ location on the slopes of the remote mountainside likely helped the Heldreich’s pine escape past logging efforts and any wildfires that spread across the region over the centuries.

    Although it was obvious to researchers from the outset that Italus was an ancient specimen, pinpointing its age was tougher than they had anticipated.

    The central part of the tree, which would have held the oldest growth rings, was gone.

    ‘The inner part of the wood was like dust — we never saw anything like it,’ Alfredo Di Filippo from the University of Tuscia told National Geographic.

    ‘There were at least 20 centimetres of wood missing, which represents a lot of years.’

    But while the growth rings inside the tree trunk had deteriorated, the roots were still in good condition.

    Like the trunk, these also contain growth rings.

    However, growth rings inside the tree trunk and roots appear at different rates, which can make determining the correct age of the tree a difficult task.

    To solve the problem, the researchers used radiocarbon dating to determine when the ancient pine germinated and then cross-date ring growth in root and trunk samples to uncover the years missing from the inside the trunk.

    ‘By joining these two methods, we were able to establish the time frame much more precisely,’ Piovesan told National Geographic.

    As a result, Italus is the oldest in Europe — topping a 1,075-year-old pine in northern Greece that previously held the title.

    http://www.infosurhoy.com/cocoon/sai...still-growing/

    https://news.nationalgeographic.com/...imate-science/

    https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wi...getting-bigger

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    Advisor Angela's Avatar
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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post


    The oldest tree in Europe is enjoying a growth spurt.


    Despite being almost 1,230 years-old, scientists say the weather-beaten pine is still thriving, with substantial growth rings added to its trunk over the last several decades.

    This is despite the tree being subjected to extreme heat and droughts during its lifetime.

    Researchers have nicknamed the plucky pine ‘Italus’.

    They say studying its growth through changing climates could help them better understand how forests will respond to modern climate change.

    According to a new paper published in the journal Ecology, Italus germinated on the rocky slopes of southern Italy in 789 AD — the year the Vikings disembarked on English shores for the first time.

    The tree was recently discovered by researchers from the University of Tuscia who conducted an exhaustive four-year field survey within the Pollino National Park in southern Italy.

    The 1,230 year-old tree is a Heldreich’s pine, which are common in the harsh Pollino landscape.

    Italus has survived a number of different weather conditions over the last millennium, including a colder period in Medieval times, and warmer temperatures more recently.

    It is already clear that recent global warming hasn’t been a setback for the ancient trees, like Italus.

    The millennium-old pine has seen a recent surge in growth.

    Researchers noted that after laying down smaller rings in its trunk for the last few centuries, the ancient pine has grown more substantial rings, which indicates better environmental conditions.

    Gianluca Piovesan of the University of Tuscia believes there are multiple reasons behind this new-found growth spurt.

    Temperatures have remained cooler in the high mountains, which may have saved Italus from the stunted growth observed in recent decades in trees around in the Mediterranean Basin.

    Elsewhere, Piovesan and his team believe a decrease in pollution thanks to recent European laws could have played an important role.

    He said: ‘It’s difficult, because there are few studies about the impact of warm periods on Mediterranean boreal ecosystems.’

    Italus’ location on the slopes of the remote mountainside likely helped the Heldreich’s pine escape past logging efforts and any wildfires that spread across the region over the centuries.

    Although it was obvious to researchers from the outset that Italus was an ancient specimen, pinpointing its age was tougher than they had anticipated.

    The central part of the tree, which would have held the oldest growth rings, was gone.

    ‘The inner part of the wood was like dust — we never saw anything like it,’ Alfredo Di Filippo from the University of Tuscia told National Geographic.

    ‘There were at least 20 centimetres of wood missing, which represents a lot of years.’

    But while the growth rings inside the tree trunk had deteriorated, the roots were still in good condition.

    Like the trunk, these also contain growth rings.

    However, growth rings inside the tree trunk and roots appear at different rates, which can make determining the correct age of the tree a difficult task.

    To solve the problem, the researchers used radiocarbon dating to determine when the ancient pine germinated and then cross-date ring growth in root and trunk samples to uncover the years missing from the inside the trunk.

    ‘By joining these two methods, we were able to establish the time frame much more precisely,’ Piovesan told National Geographic.

    As a result, Italus is the oldest in Europe — topping a 1,075-year-old pine in northern Greece that previously held the title.

    http://www.infosurhoy.com/cocoon/sai...still-growing/

    https://news.nationalgeographic.com/...imate-science/

    https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wi...getting-bigger
    I expected it to be a olive tree. They seem to be remarkably hardy.

    It's apparently difficult to date olive trees, so maybe this one from Crete isn't quite as old as some estimates had it:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_tree_of_Vouves

    These are some of the oldest olive trees in Italy:
    http://www.theperfectfood.eu/en/2017...e-trees-italy/

    Some are almost completely hollow but still bear fruit. Shades of Sarah! :)



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    2 members found this post helpful.
    I believe the oldest tree in Europe would have to be a 'Yew'. In Scotland there is a tree believed to date to around 3,000, to 5,000 years old, ( Fortingall tree, Perthshire, Scotland ), and many in England are believed to be ,1000/2,000 years old. The evergreen 'Yew' tree was always associated with paganisn/religion. It is the reason, many christian churches traditionally have an ancient yew tree in the grounds or nearby, as these ancient tree's were often the place of earlier pagan worship, and after converting to christianity, a church would be built at the same site. Many of these trees are now confirmed to be thousands of years old. Another contender could be a welsh, Yew , St Cynog's church, Defynnog is believed to be another at 5,000 years old.

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    The Pollino National Park in Calabria, Italy, is definitely worth a visit.
    The pics are from the press release. Photo credit: Gianluca Piovesan

    http://www.unitus.it/public/platform...may%202018.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul333 View Post
    I believe the oldest tree in Europe would have to be a 'Yew'. In Scotland there is a tree believed to date to around 3,000, to 5,000 years old, ( Fortingall tree, Perthshire, Scotland ), and many in England are believed to be ,1000/2,000 years old. The evergreen 'Yew' tree was always associated with paganisn/religion. It is the reason, many christian churches traditionally have an ancient yew tree in the grounds or nearby, as these ancient tree's were often the place of earlier pagan worship, and after converting to christianity, a church would be built at the same site. Many of these trees are now confirmed to be thousands of years old. Another contender could be a welsh, Yew , St Cynog's church, Defynnog is believed to be another at 5,000 years old.
    I was going to say the same thing. I wrote about it in my article Interesting Facts about Wales.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pax Augusta View Post
    The Pollino National Park in Calabria, Italy, is definitely worth a visit.
    It's divided between Calabria and Basilicata, isn't it? It's also the largest national park in Italy. It's got eagles, vultures, wolves, otters... Definitely worth a visit.

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    It's divided between Calabria and Basilicata, isn't it? It's also the largest national park in Italy. It's got eagles, vultures, wolves, otters... Definitely worth a visit.
    Yes indeed, divided between southern Basilicata and northern Calabria.



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