Tree Clones | Nature Boom Time

Tree Clones | Nature Boom Time


[TICKING]. [ALARM]. [FIREWORKS]. ♪♪ CHARLIE: WHAT’S UP GUYS? I’M CHARLIE. LAST SUMMER, MY FRIENDS KIRBY,
PATRICK AND I WENT TO FISH LAKE NATIONAL FOREST IN
UTAH, TO HANG OUT, HAVE A GOOD TIME,
ENJOY SOME NATURE, BUT ALSO TO FIND THE
LARGEST LIVING ORGANISM IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. ALRIGHT, TRY TO THINK OF THE
LARGEST LIVING ORGANISM IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. PAT: A GIANT SQUID. KIRBY: ELEPHANTS. PAT: A BLUE WHALE? KIRBY: DINOSAURS… CHARLIE: ARE DEAD NOW, BUT
THEY WERE PRETTY BIG AND ALIVE AT SOME POINT
IN TIME. ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE
PRETTY BIG, BUT NO, THE LARGEST LIVING THING IN
THE WORLD IS A TREE. PAT: LIKE A GIANT SEQUOIA. KIRBY: YEAH, LIKE MY BOY GENERAL
SHERMAN OUT IN CALIFORNIA. CHARLIE: SEQUOIAS
ARE PRETTY HUGE, BUT THE LARGEST LIVING THING IN
THE WHOLE WORLD IS ACTUALLY IN UTAH, IT’S THIS GUY RIGHT
HERE, HE’S A TREE, AND HIS NAME IS PANDO. BUT OBVIOUSLY THAT’S
NOT ALL OF PANDO. THIS IS ALSO PART
OF PANDO. SO IS THIS GUY,
SO IS THIS ONE. THESE GUYS OVER
HERE AND THAT ONE. THAT ONE, AND SO
IS THIS ONE. PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THIS
KIND OF TREE IN THE SURROUNDING 106 ACRES MAKE
UP ONE ORGANISM, AND HIS NAME IS PANDO,
AND HE IS MASSIVE. YOU SEE, PANDO IS A
QUAKING ASPEN TREE, AND THEY REPRODUCE A
LITTLE DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHER TREES OUT THERE. MOST TREES MAKE MORE TREES BY
FIRST CREATING TINY FLOWERS THAT GET POLLINATED
AND FORM SEEDS, WHICH LATER GERMINATE AND
GROW INTO OTHER TREES. BUT QUAKING ASPENS,
LIKE PANDO, PREFER A DIFFERENT METHOD. THEY REPRODUCE CLONAL-LY. SO, A SINGLE QUAKING
ASPEN TREE HAS A PRETTY MASSIVE ROOT SYSTEM. EVERY SO OFTEN, THOSE
ROOTS SHOOT UP AND CREATE ANOTHER TREE. THIS CAN HAPPEN OVER AND
OVER AND OVER UNTIL YOU GET ENORMOUS SYSTEMS OF
TREES, LIKE THIS ONE. ALL OF THESE TREES ARE
GENETICALLY IDENTICAL. THEY HAVE THE EXACT SAME DNA,
CHANGE COLORS AT THE EXACT SAME TIME IN THE FALL, AND
HAVE THE SAME BRANCHING PATTERN, SO PEOPLE REFER
TO THEM AS CLONES. SO ALL OF THESE TREES STARTED
OUT A LONG TIME AGO FROM ONE SINGLE SEED. AND THE AMAZING THING IS,
THAT EVEN THOUGH THERE LOOKS LIKE THERE’S THOUSANDS
OF TREES AROUND HERE, THEY’RE ALL INTERCONNECTED
THROUGH ONE ROOT SYSTEM, SO WE CAN THINK OF THEM
TOGETHER AS ONE, SINGLE ORGANISM. IT MIGHT BE EASIER TO THINK
ABOUT PANDO AS JUST ONE GIANT ROOT SYSTEM, THAT’S THE
MAIN PART OF THE ORGANISM, AND EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE IT
JUST SHOOTS UP ANOTHER ARM, WHICH IS A TREE GROWING
OUT OF THE GROUND. MOST QUAKING ASPENS
SPREAD AROUND AN AREA OF ABOUT 1 TO 20 ACRES. BUT OUR BUDDY PANDO HERE
IS ABOUT 106 ACRES. SHOOTING UP A WHOPPING
50,000 TREE TRUNKS AND WEIGHING IN AT APPROXIMATELY
13 MILLION POUNDS. WHICH IS ABOUT THE SAME
WEIGHT AS 6,500 GIANT SQUIDS, 867 AFRICAN ELEPHANTS,
32.5 BLUE WHALES OR 3 GENERAL SHERMAN’S. MAKING IT THE LARGEST LIVING
THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. IT HAS MORE DRY MASS THAN
ANYTHING ALIVE, ON THE EARTH,
RIGHT NOW. DRY MASS IS KEY HERE, BECAUSE
THERE ARE SOME MYCOLOGISTS WHO MIGHT CLAIM THAT A FUNGAL
MAT IN OREGON IS ACTUALLY THE LARGEST LIVING
THING IN THE WORLD, AND THEY’RE RIGHT, THAT FUNGAL
MAT IS ABSOLUTELY HUGE. BUT, WE’RE TALKING
ABOUT DRY MASS HERE, WHICH EXCLUDES WATER,
AND IN THIS CATEGORY, PANDO KIND OF GETS FIRST
BY A LONG SHOT. THE COOL THING ABOUT
REPRODUCING CLONAL-LY, IS THAT IT ALLOWS TREES TO
LIVE FOR A REALLY LONG TIME. SOME PEOPLE HAVE
ESTIMATED THAT PANDO IS AROUND 80,000
YEARS OLD. WHICH IS CRAZY, I MEAN HE
LOOKS SO SPRITE AND YOUNG, YOUNG AND CHIPPER AS EVER,
DOESN’T HE? COOL, COOL, BUT REALITY
CHECK HERE, PANDO IS DYING. HE’S LIVED FOR A
REALLY LONG TIME, AND UNFORTUNATELY HAS
TAKEN QUITE A HIT. THERE’S BEEN DISEASE,
FIRE SUPPRESSION, INSECT INFESTATION, AND
DEER JUST EATING UP ALL THE NEW SAPLINGS. AND NOW, FOR WHATEVER REASON,
THE OLD PARTS OF PANDO ARE DYING AND THERE’S NOT A LOT
OF NEW GROWTH TO REPLACE IT. AND THE THING IS, NO
ONE HAS REALLY ANY IDEA WHY THAT’S HAPPENING. SO WHILE FOREST RANGERS
SCRAMBLE TO SAVE THIS BIG MAN, WE’D LIKE TO LET HIM SHINE FOR
THE LITTLE TIME HE HAS LEFT. CONGRATULATIONS PANDO,
YOU ARE A “NATURE BOOM TIME”
APPROVED PLANT. [FIREWORKS]

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