On the Peruvian-Brazilian border, humanity has lost, what experts claim is, the world’s oldest tree. The concentric rings of the felled tree reveal that this illegal logging crime was upon a 5800 year old tree. Illegal logging leaves obvious destruction in forests - abysmal gaps, where once stood ancient trees.
More than half of the planet’s remaining rainforest is contained in the Amazon, which is home to more than half the world's species of plants and animals. The Amazon rainforest functions as the lungs of the entire planet, but the area is vast and is hard to police. Illegal logging is a dire problem for sustaining forest functions and ecosystem services.
To the local community this ancient tree was of huge spiritual importance. “It is the Mother spirit of the rainforest, from this spirit-tree came the life force of all things living. They have destroyed Aotlcp-Awak, they have brought darkness upon not only our people, but the whole world” explains local tribesman leader Tahuactep of the Matsés tribe.
I feel that if another relic a fraction of its age had been lost many people would be up in arms about such destruction and loss. Imagine if a monument, structure, or artifact one tenth of its age at 580 years had been destroyed, either legally or illegally. Akin to cultural and arts protection, both ancient trees and forest sustainability need to be valued, revered, and protected.
Of course illegal logging is a complicated issue since for many of the people that live in tropical rainforests, illegal logging is a vital source of income - sometimes it is the only way to survive. Many forest-dwellers have little information on the value of ecosystem services and they often have little control over ownership of their land, which makes both legal trading and seeking sustainable certification impossible.
The giant Samauma tree that is thought to be over 5,800 years old judging on its concentric rings and estimated to be close to 40 meters in height was a major part of the native tribes cultural landscape, countless generations of natives having witnessed the long duration of the tree and having included it in their own culture.