Earth’s largest organism may die

Pando Grove, consisting of 47,000,000 genetically identical aspens, grows in Fishlake National Park in Utah. It actually represents a single organism: all trees grow from a single root system and are shoots of the same plant. In 1992, the grove, called the “trembling giant,” was officially recognized as the most massive organism of the world. Its estimated mass is about 6 million tons.

Now the unique grove is under threat. New aerial photography areas show that the Pando area is decreasing. And biologists working with the “trembling giant” claim that the colossal organism stopped growing young. “Imagine a city with a population of 47,000 inhabitants, where there is no one under 85 years old,” says environmentalist Paul Rogers, who studies Pando. Where did the next generation go?

Scientists suggest that young shoots of a tree-grove are eaten by cloven-hoofed ones. Hiding from the hunters and searching for new places for food, deer often wander into the aspen grove. Cattle grazing in the summer months also harms Pando. The contribution to the gradual destruction of the grove is also made by people who have chosen the grove as a place to rest. To protect the grove from the influence of man and large animals, scientists are going to protect it with a fence.