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Scientists scale largest tree for ‘health checkup’


US scientists and researchers from the Ancient Forest Society and the Giant Sequoia Land Coalition have for the first time ever scaled the largest living tree on the planet – the iconic 85-metre sequoia tree General Sherman at the Sequoia National Park in California.

The researchers climbed the massive tree using ropes to carry out an inspection for signs of infestation by sequoia bark beetle, according to the Tulare County Resource Management Agency.

The agency said that up to 20% of the world’s sequoia trees have been lost over the past four years due to “extreme impacts of climate change”.

The Save The Redwoods League said that 40 mature giant sequoia trees have been lost to bark beetles since 2015.

The beetles have been recorded near the massive trees since 1920, but scientists believe that changes such as severe drought and hotter temperatures have weakened the trees’ resistance to instance, STRL said.

The researchers made their way up into the upper crown of General Sherman to carry out the inspection, and the results showed minimal beetle activity and the tree was deemed to be in good health, according to TCRMA.


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