Old Madagascar baobab trees, new research


This video says about itself:

Alley of Baobabs, MadagascarConservation International

30 January 2008

Madagascar is unlike any place else on Earth. It has been separated from other land masses for almost a hundred million years. As a result, evolution there has proceeded along a separate track from any other region.

The vast majority of plants and animals you will find in Madagascar are unlike anything you may have seen before.

In western Madagascar, the Alley of Baobabs is one of those unique landscapes. The Alley is a major regional tourism draw. While tourists spend thousands of dollars on plane tickets, hotels and tours to get there, the people on whose land this marvel exists get nothing. In order to survive, local communities are raising water levels to expand rice paddies that increase the stress on the baobabs.

Funded by USAID, Conservation International and the Malagasy NGO Fanamby are working to reverse this situation. They are developing a project to improve the competitiveness among small businesses involved in the tourism supply chain. This video invites you to learn more about the ecotourism project and to cooperate with the conservation efforts to save this natural treasure.

From PLOS ONE:

Searching for the Oldest Baobab of Madagascar: Radiocarbon Investigation of Large Adansonia rubrostipa Trees

March 25, 2015

Abstract

We extended our research on the architecture, growth and age of trees belonging to the genus Adansonia, by starting to investigate large individuals of the most widespread Malagasy species.

Our research also intends to identify the oldest baobabs of Madagascar. Here we present results of the radiocarbon investigation of the two most representative Adansonia rubrostipa (fony baobab) specimens, which are located in south-western Madagascar, in the Tsimanampetsotse National Park.

We found that the fony baobab called “Grandmother” consists of 3 perfectly fused stems of different ages. The radiocarbon date of the oldest sample was found to be 1136 ± 16 BP. We estimated that the oldest part of this tree, which is mainly hollow, has an age close to 1,600 yr. This value is comparable to the age of the oldest Adansonia digitata (African baobab) specimens. By its age, the Grandmother is a major candidate for the oldest baobab of Madagascar.

The second investigated specimen, called the “polygamous baobab”, consists of 6 partially fused stems of different ages. According to dating results, this fony baobab is 1,000 yr old. This research is the first investigation of the structure and age of Malagasy baobabs.

5 thoughts on “Old Madagascar baobab trees, new research

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