Why no one has seen how the tallest centenarians — sequoias - die
Categories: NatureBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/why-no-one-has-seen-how-the-tallest-centenarians-sequoias-die1
The tallest and longest—lived trees (their age is 4 thousand years or more) - redwoods grow in North America. The Americans discovered these trees only in the XIX century, and they did not believe the discoverers for a long time. In 1833, a man named Leonard discovered a grove of hundred-meter trees in the Sierra Nevada mountains and wrote a book about them. No one was interested in the book, readers decided that the author had invented everything.
Twenty years have passed, and crowds of gold seekers have rushed to these places. One of the fortune seekers named Daud chased after a grizzly bear he had injured and ran into a solid wooden wall. It was not a fence built by people, but a huge wooden fortress grown by nature. The hunter returned and told about the amazing find. He was ridiculed.
Then Daud cheated. He said he killed a bear the size of a big house. Then everyone ran into the forest and saw a grove of redwoods. People stood in mute amazement in front of the giants, next to whom they seemed smaller than ants. From that time on, the whole of America believed in the existence of supergiant trees, and everyone rushed to search for redwoods.
A total of 72 groves were found, and each tree in them received its own name: "old bachelor", "three sisters", "miner's hut", and a fallen tree with a hollow into which a rider could enter was named "riding school". There is even a sequoia bearing the name of the writer Mark Twain. Enterprising businessmen bought these groves and allowed tourists to go there for money. Well, in fact, where else can you see a tunnel cut through the trunk, where a horse-drawn carriage passes freely. This tunnel exists even now — a road has been laid through it and cars are streaming.
Where else on the stump can accommodate an orchestra and sixteen pairs of dancers.
Unfortunately, these stumps and tunnels were made by people specifically to show how big the redwoods are, and earn a lot of money from it. Thank God that giants are extremely tenacious: they can be mutilated, but it is very difficult to kill them. We decided to cut down one of the tallest redwoods especially for the exhibition — it didn't work out: the saws got blunt very quickly. Then powerful drills went into action. For almost a month, five workers tried to hole the trunk from different sides. But even then the tree did not fall.
Sequoia collapsed to the ground only after a squall of hurricane-force wind hit her riddled body. The impact was like an earthquake. The trunk fell apart into several pieces, and the branches cut deeply into the ground. It was not possible to take the fallen giant out of the forest. Only the bark stripped from it was delivered. In San Francisco, a huge round room with a height of seven meters was assembled from it. A piano was installed inside and seats were arranged for 40 spectators.
Alas, the mockery of the redwoods did not end there. Logger Trask decided to enrich himself by robbing a tree that was known as the Mother of the Forest. He hammered iron staples into the trunk to get to the top, and then removed the bark from the tree and sent the "tree clothes" to London.
Usually trees without bark die. But the Mother of the forest survived. She towered over the treetops, reproaching people with her appearance for their greed and unjustified cruelty. And now, many years later, Americans are probably blushing, remembering Trask's monstrous act.
Redwoods are kind to people, and there is no need to disfigure them at all. Hunter Smith once discovered a huge hollow in the trunk of a sequoia. It was formed when a fire raged in the forest. The fire burned a 35-meter grotto in the trunk. It was in it that Smith settled. For three years he enjoyed his unprecedented apartment. But one day a hurricane hit.
The hunter sat like a squirrel in a hollow tree and was shaking with fear. Huge trees were falling nearby. A sequoia with a scorched trunk could not stand it either — it would collapse and bury the hunter hiding in it. However, she withstood: and she experienced not such storms over the past thousands of years.
I must say that new trees appear very rarely, but, on the other hand, no one has seen how redwoods die of old age. This is what Ross, the chief forester of the Sequoia National Park in California, wrote about: "No one has ever seen a giant sequoia dying of old age. The same trunks that rest on the ground fell not because of age, but because of a natural disaster."
Yes, redwoods, like gods, can live for a very long time, and if compared with the brevity of human life, we can say that forever. Their age is equal to the life of entire states. For example, in one American museum there is a sawn tree with annual rings. Each ring is marked with dates and events that took place in the life of the United States.
When the Viking boats arrived on the shores of America, this tree was already standing. At the time of Columbus, it was already gigantic. Presidents replaced each other in the White House, and the sequoia continued to grow and, perhaps, did not even know about the existence of people who would someday pick up its fallen trunk from the ground, cut it into pieces and put it on display in a museum.
In a word, the very appearance of this tree, its greatness and age, it would seem, should inspire people with respect, but for a long time they tried to saw them with electric saws, and when it did not work, they were blown up with dynamite.
The most annoying thing about this barbarism is that soft redwood wood is not good for anything: you can only cut pegs or make matches out of it. Well, the patriarchs of the forest were blown up for this purpose as well. Or they made souvenirs out of them. Trinkets carved from the body of the "World Tree" are eagerly bought by tourists. Giant sequoias have a relative — evergreen sequoia, or, as the Americans call it, mahogany. Its girth is smaller, and its age is more modest (some two and a half thousand years), but they are higher: one hundred and ten meters is not a record for them at all.
And yet — the red trees are worried about procreation. Up to five million cones are grown on one tree: what if one of them survives and becomes a giant tree? And even fallen to the ground, dead red trees give green shoots. Well, if people don't blow up sequoias with dynamite, then maybe our great-great-great-grandchildren will also admire them.