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Pando (tree)

Largest known organism / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Pando (Latin for "I spread")[1] is a clonal organism representing an individual male quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) that spans 106 acres and is both the largest tree by weight and the largest tree by landmass, and is also the largest known aspen clone. Pando was identified as a single living organism because each of its stems possess identical genetic markers.[2] Each of its estimated 47,000 stems (ramets) are generally connected by a massive interconnected root system that coordinates energy production, defense and regeneration across its expanse.[3] Located in the Fremont River Ranger District of the Fishlake National Forest along the transition zone between of the Colorado Plateau and Basin and Range[4] in south-central Utah, United States, Pando lives 0.43 miles west of Fish Lake, the largest natural mountain freshwater lake in Utah.[5]

Quick facts: Pando, Map, Geography, Location, Coordinates...
Image of the approximate land mass of Pando shaded green
Map showing the location of Pando
Map showing the location of Pando
Location in Utah
Map showing the location of Pando
Map showing the location of Pando
Location in the United States
LocationFishlake National Forest, Utah, United States
Coordinates38°31′30″N 111°45′00″W
Area108 acres (43.6 ha)
Established+14000; 11977 years' time (14000) BP
Dominant tree speciesPopulus tremuloides
Pando aspen grove at Fishlake National Forest

Pando occupies approximately 106 acres (43 ha) and is estimated to weigh collectively 6,000 tonnes (6,000,000 kg),[6] or 13.2 million pounds, making it the heaviest known organism.[7][8] While the terms "organism" or "plant" have been used to describe the superlative quality of the tree, Pando is an aspen clone, and colloquially, tree lovers simply call the botanical wonder the "Pando Tree". While the General Sherman Tree is the largest single stem tree, systems of classification to define the largest trees vary considerably, leading to some confusion about Pando's status in the tree world. For example, within the United States, the Official Register of Champion Trees defines the largest trees in a species specific way, in that case, Pando is the largest aspen tree (Populus tremuloides). In forestry, the largest trees are measured by the greatest volume of a single stem, regardless of species. No large tree classification exists today to qualify Pando's size as it is the largest aspen clone, largest tree by weight and land mass combined. While many emphasize that Pando is the largest clonal organism, Redwoods also can reproduce via cloning. In addition, many non-plants vie for that distinction. Some have stated Pando is the largest plant, however that distinction is owed to a sea grass colony in the South Pacific, Posidonia australis.

A recent discovery whose scale of operation was only verified in 2008, little is known about Pando's origins and how its genetic integrity has been sustained over such a long time (between 9,000 and 12,000 years). Researchers have argued that Pando’s future is also uncertain due to a combination of factors including drought, grazing, and fire suppression.[9][10]

Today, Friends of Pando,[11] in partnership with independent scientists, community leaders, and the United States Forest Service work together to study, monitor and protect the tree . Other organizations that study and work to study and protect Pando include Western Aspen Alliance[12] and Grand Canyon Trust[13] in the private sector, and the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources[14] in the governmental sector.

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