In Africa are dying millennial baobabs. Scientists do not understand the reasons

In Africa are dying millennial baobabs. Scientists do not understand the reasons

Scientists are sounding the alarm: over the last 12 years in Africa under mysterious circumstances killed a few the oldest and largest baobab trees.

Experts still don’t understand the reasons, but do not exclude that the trees could die because of climate change.

Scientists from the University of South Africa, Romania and the United States called the deaths of the trees is unprecedented. Their findings are published in the journal Nature Plants, according to scientists, baobabs definitely not died of any epidemic.

The death of the baobab, at least partially, may be related to changes in climatic conditions, which particularly affected the southern Africa.Adrian Patret University Babes-Bolyai in Romania

Scientist agreed that it is necessary to continue research to confirm or refute the hypothesis.

The shock and sadness of scientists

Baobabs can reach an enormous size, and life expectancy of some of them is hundreds, if not thousands of years.

The researchers checked the condition of the ancient trees in southern Africa since 2005. Using radiocarbon analysis, they investigate the structure of trees and determine the age. Just they have studied more than 60 trees, the study lasted 12 years — from 2005 to 2017.

In the study, scientists noticed that the large and old trees have died. Nine of them were included in the list of the oldest trees, five in the list of the largest in the world. All of them were in southern Africa — Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.

Age of dead trees ranged from 1100 to 2500 years.

Among them, the baobab Punk, which was considered sacred in Zimbabwe. The circumference was 25.5 meters, the height is 15.5 meters, and the age is about 2 years 429. It all stems were killed and fell in 2010-2011.

The scientists write that the baobabs are very difficult to kill. The trees survive, even if they burn or strip the bark. “When they die, they simply rot from inside and fall down suddenly, leaving a pile of dust,” write the experts.

“We suspect that this is due to the increase in temperature and drought,” suggests Adrian Patret. “It’s just unbelievable and very sad to see them die,” says the scientist.