“The Ancient Bald Cypress Forests of the Black River”

This six-minute film describes the discovery of bald cypress trees over 2,000-years old in the forested wetlands of Black River, near Wilmington, North Carolina.

Key Points


1. The oldest bald cypress tree yet documented is at least 2,624-years old, based on tree-ring dating and radiocarbon analysis (the scientific name of bald cypress is Taxodium distichum). 

2. These Black River bald cypress trees are the oldest living trees in eastern North America and the fifth oldest living tree species yet documented on earth. 

3. These results were published on May 9, 2019, in Environmental Research Communications, a peer reviewed journal of the Institute of Physics, London. (link) 

4. The Nature Conservancy owns 16,000 acres in their Black River Preserve, but thousands of additional acres are still present along the 60-mile length of Black River and remain at risk of disappearing. 

5. The Nature Conservancy seeks support for their effort to preserve and restore habitat along this beautiful and unpolluted stream. 

“These world-class ancient forests, with beautiful black water flowing below, represent one of the great natural areas of eastern North America.” 

– Professor David Stahle, University of Arkansas

“North Carolina and the Nation should be grateful for The Nature Conservancy because they have led all public and private efforts to preserve this remarkable stream.” 

– Professor David Stahle, University of Arkansas

“The oldest trees in eastern North America also record one of the most accurate tree-ring records of growing season rainfall ever found.” 

– Professor David Stahle, University of Arkansas

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