Pine tree in Greece has stood through centuries of human history.
When the Norman Conquest of England began with the Battle of Hastings in October of 1066, a pine tree in Greece had already been standing tall for almost 100 years. According to an article on csmonitor.com, researchers have calculated this particular tree to be at least 1,075 years old and it is now holding the title of the oldest tree in Europe.
And it may even be older than that. The researchers used a pencil-sized core sample from the trunk of the tree, nicknamed “Adonis,” but the core sample didn’t actually reach all the way to the center of the tree. They determined the age of the tree by counting the rings, but since they were unable to count all the way to the center, the team was left with saying it was at least 1,075.
Other trees have been estimated to be even older than Adonis, but those haven’t been verified by core samples. The trees create a new ring each year of growth making it easy to determine their ages.
Living for over a thousand years is a monumental feat in itself, when you consider the myriad of factors that could have led to the destruction of the tree. Human populations around the area could have easily cut down the tree for firewood or building materials, not to mention the possibility of damage and destruction caused by natural forces, such as storms and even earthquakes.
The history of human populations in Europe is one of the factors that make elderly trees uncommon on the continent, at least compared to other sections of the globe, like the United States. The more populous an area is, the more likely the tree would be cut down.
Adonis apparently has a number of neighbors that are also around a thousand years old, and the proximity to civilization of the Greek forest is intriguing to the researchers.
The scientists say they are planning to research fallen trees in the area to see what impact humans have had on the region, as well as investigating how trees such as these managed to withstand centuries of extreme climate conditions.