Dumb ? Of The Week - Why Do Trees Die?

lxskllr

Treehouser
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Trees live a long time, some for thousands of years. Why does a tree live for 1,000 years, then die at 1,001? Why not just keep doing what it's doing? What's the mechanism of death?
 
Because the cell structure and so on goes bad as we and trees age.
Interestingly enough, it has been found that the worse conditions a tree lives in, the less the cells age.

That is why Pinus longeavae Bristle cone pine can get over 5000 years old.
They live at so high elevation, nothing else can thrive there.
We are talking 4000 meters, almost.
Tree level in the Swiss Alps is at 1800 meters.

I found an article for you:

 
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Thanks stig. What made me think of it was my oak that died and got me into this mess. The roots rotted by some means(fungal I believe), and it blew over. It was ~300yr old, and that's about right for black oak I think, but on the younger side probably. I was wondering how long it would have lived if not for disease(the same that's been claiming oaks all around here?), and if a tree can live 300, 600, or 1,000 years, why can't it live forever.
 
The lifespan is limited by design to reach the most productive way for any given specie to maintain and develop itrself. Like the best of possible results for the minimum imputs. The main point/goal can differ from one to an other (fast spreading, low consomption, elaborated construction ...). That goes from a one day life insects ( in adult form, though the larva stage should be counted too) to many centuries like some trees. We are somewhere in the middle.
I any case, the life's end is programmed genetically and the aging process is active and deliberate. Sadly. It isn't just some wear affecting the boddy. The illness, accidents, wear... take their toll though, but at the end you can't go much past the ticking clock.
 
When the energy used to grow each season and seal off the ravages of diseases and pests is more than the amount of energy produced by photosynthesis for enough years to deplete the amount of carbohydrates stored in the plant. Thus 7-10 years after the new house is built in the wooded subdivision!!!!
 
I like the question and the answers.

I’ve read that in humans all dna breaks down as cells are copied so many times over. The cells in my body have probably been copied millions of times over from the original. X ray radiation (sun) and just plain old background radiation can cause an imperfect copy of the dna in the cell causing mutations/failures. I’m assuming the tree cells experience the same.
 
I like the question and the answers.

I’ve read that in humans all dna breaks down as cells are copied so many times over. The cells in my body have probably been copied millions of times over from the original. X ray radiation (sun) and just plain old background radiation can cause an imperfect copy of the dna in the cell causing mutations/failures. I’m assuming the tree cells experience the same.
I believe this is true. I read something similar which explained that the cells which our bodies are constructed from are never anymore than 10-15 years old at any given moment in time. Therefore, a 75 year old person, for example, can make the argument that they really aren't any older then 10-15 years. But as you mentioned, the copies that are created become worse over time, much like a full size video being shared millions of times on the internet and how each successive copy is inherently of lesser quality than the one it was copied from. The average person is exposed to countless toxins and threats. If you want to get really technical, there's free radical and damage theory...

 
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