The world’s oldest forest: There are several very old forests in this world, but the oldest forest is located in upstate New York.
A network of trees thought to be spread over 400 kilometers (250 miles) was found at the bottom of a sandstone quarry in Cairo, USA.
The forest is estimated to be about 386 million years old, making it older than the Amazon rainforest, the fabled jungles of India, and the remote jungles of Southeast Asia.
In 2019, a team led by scientists from Binghamton University, the State Museum of New York, and Cardiff University mapped about 3,000 square meters of forest at the foot of the Catskill Mountains in the Hudson Valley.
This forest has primitive plants called cladoxylopsids, which look like ferns, and aceopteris trees, which have leaves for branches.
A single specimen of a third type of tree was also discovered, which remained unidentified but could have been a lycopod. All these trees were propagated only by using spores instead of seeds.
“You’re walking through the roots of ancient trees,” Dr. Christopher Barry, a paleobotanist at Cardiff University, said in 2019.
“Standing on the surface of the mine, we can recreate the living forest around us in our imagination.
“It looked like a fairly open forest with small to medium-sized trees with isolated tree fern-like plants and smaller clumps growing in between.
“To understand how trees began to harvest carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, we need to understand the ecology and habitats of the earliest forests and their rooting systems.
“These remarkable findings have allowed us to move away from the generalities of the importance of large plants growing in forests, to the specifics of which plants, in which habitats, in which types of ecology are driving global change processes.
We have been able to excavate the fossilized soil between the trees and can now study the geochemical changes in the soil with our colleagues at the University of Sheffield. We are considering transitioning Earth to a forest planet.