Pando is the world’s biggest organism. It’s a forest made up of genetically identical aspen trees numbering 47,000. Scientists think it’s anywhere between 80,000 and 1 million years old. And humans are slowly killing it.
“People are at the center of that failure,” Paul Rogers, an ecologist Utah State University who co-authored the paper, told Earther. Nearby ranchers have allowed their cattle to roam and snacked voraciously on young stems, and as human populations have grown in the area, deer hunting has decreased for safety reasons. But thriving deer populations wreck havoc on young aspen stems. For the past 40 years, it appears the root system has not been able to reproduce fast enough to keep up with the decimation.
CAN 2018 GET ANY WORSE? GET YOUR SH*T TOGETHER HUMANITY!