Pando - The Largest Living Organism in the World
A stand of Populus tremuloides, commonly named Trembling Aspen, has been found to be the largest living organism on earth. No, it isn't the tallest or the biggest tree, it is in fact is a stand of trees spreading over an area of 43 hectares (106 acres). This collection of 47,000 genetically identical stems is said to be one living organism because every stem shares a collective root system. Though the individual trees average at 130 years old, the root system is 80,000 years old, also making it the oldest living organism in the world. You can visit this stand at the Fishland National Forest in Utah.
Unfortunately, Pando is currently thought to be dying according to ecologists at Utah State University. The exact cause is unknown, whether it be drought stress, disease, insects, elk grazing, or climate change. Restoration is underway to help stimulate new stem growth and preserve this natural wonder.
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