I’m traveling across the southeast with Dr. Stahle from the tree-ring lab at the U of A recording some of the last stands of ancient #baldcypress
that remain after nearly all virgin forests in the southeast were savagely logged at the turn of the century. These small ecosystems offer unique habitat crucial to many species (like the ivory-billed woodpecker) not to mention invaluable data for understanding past climate.
Bald cypress is highly sought out for its commercial timber value and unfortunately that motive has all but eliminated its ancient ancestors. I’m so in awe by these trees. Can you believe Dr. Stahle found a tree in South Carolina in 2017 that dates to at least 2,600 yrs old!
We had to trudge through knee to waist deep muck, often walking on a floating mat of organic matter, carrying all the gear (I carried the 12’ extension ladder 😐) to get to these ancient masters. So worth the poison ivy, thorns, mosquitoes, fire ants and 8 hours of wet feet 😅. Most of our trees were hollowed out by fungal heart rot (one of the reasons they were never logged) but we still got cores with around 400-500 rings. The trees are surely twice that age. With the combined efforts of the tree-ring lab, The Nature Conservancy and the land owners, it look like this property will get a conservation easement to ensure its protection 😌. Now we drive south of Orlando on our quest to find more of these babies and raise awareness for their preservation. 🌲🌎✌️