Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ancient Tree Advisor

Brian Muelaner is likely the world's only 'official' Ancient Tree Advisor.

It's his job to head the survey to catalogue the where-abouts of ancient trees in Britain and work to preserve them for future generations.

Oaks can live for 1,200 years and yews for 3,000, but unfortunately, many of these ancient survivors are endangered because of pollution and neglect.

The oldest tree on the British National Trust property is the Ankerwycke yew - almost 2,500 years old. The Magna Carta was signed under this tree in 1215.

Brian Muelaner is employed by the British National Trust, and was profiled in today's Globe and Mail. This photo, taken in Chiltern woods, caught my eye, but it was also used to illustrate this article in The Guardian.

As a tree-planting student in BC, this Canadian was disillusioned by the government's lack of stewardship, "Even now there are constant battles in BC where they want to cut virgin forest - ancient Sitka spruce... The government has allowed companies to behave rapaciously."

When I visited BC and spent time in the ancient coastal forests still left standing, I felt I was surrounded by towering, benign creatures too busy to notice I was intruding. The air and light seemed holy, and the smells were intoxicating. Truly, a magic forest. I am deeply grateful to the people who fight to keep ancient trees and forests alive.

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