Woman Spends 14 Years Taking Photos of World’s Oldest Trees


Beth Moon is a photographer based in San Francisco. She has spent the over a decade searching for the oldest tree in the world. She goes to far-flung locations to find trees, some of which look so ancient that they might contain secrets of the world and civilization.

Speaking of her photos, Beth wrote, “Standing as the earth’s largest and oldest living monuments, I believe these symbolic trees will take on a greater significance, especially at a time when our focus is directed at finding better ways to live with the environment.”

Look at some of Beth’s work, and see the magnificent and amazing trees she has come across in her 14-year quest to find the oldest tree in the world.

See videos at the end

She chooses her trees by using specific criteria. First, they must be old. They should also be massive in size. And lastly, they must have an interesting history.

Before going on location, she does her research on the area. She uses books, newspapers, the accounts of other travelers, and tree registers to find the best trees to photograph.

Dr. Jane Goodall has said of Beth’s “Portraits of Time,” “I want my grandchildren—and theirs—to know the wonder of such trees in life and not only from photographs of things long gone. Beth’s portraits will surely inspire many to help those working to save these magnificent trees.”

Saving the trees that have survived and still stand tall today is so important because they are living relics of the past. Because of expansion and urbanization, many trees are in danger of being chopped or cut down, including some of these ancient treasures. The loss of these trees will harm the ecosystem and our connection with the past.

As of 2013, the oldest tree in the world was a Great Basin bristle cone pine called Methuselah. It was an astounding 4,845 years old. It can be found in the White Mountains of California, but it is no longer the oldest tree still standing.

In 2013, they found a tree also growing in the White Mountains that dated back to 5,062 years ago. A tree in the Abarkuh, Yazd Province in Iran is a national monument. It is known as the Zoroastrian Sarv and is approximately 4,000 years old. This tree could be the oldest living thing in the whole of Asia.

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