Being one of the oldest specimens of cypress trees, as well as one of the largest, Florida’s Lady Liberty tree will help in growing cypress forests through cloning. The other cypress tree, the larger and more robust Senator, was lost four years ago due to arson. Both of these trees are part of the Big Tree Park in Florida.
Lady Liberty is an impressive sight to behold, with a massive 10-foot thick trunk and a height of over 90 feet. Its age is also impressive, dating back to roughly 2.000 years ago. But even after Senator was lost and 8-foot tall fences were built around Lady Liberty, the cypress still faces dangers posed by climate change and pollution.
This is why the Archangel Ancient Tree organization, a non-profit company from Michigan, want to clone Lady Liberty and from her, sprout massive cypress forests. The company is not inexperienced in this area, with a clone of Senator already growing over 50 feet, following its original specimen’s arson. Over 150 tree species have been cloned already, with 90% of them already creating forests in different locations across Earth.
If the claim by the company stating that almost 98% of the US old forests have been destroyed proves to be entirely correct, this tree-cloning movement may be the best solution to regrow our forests. Several Archangel Ancient Tree employees have scaled Lady Liberty in order to gather cuttings from her crown. After this process was complete, the samples were shipped back to Michigan in ice, so that they can be planted in nurseries, effectively creating tiny little clones of Lady Liberty.
This concept of cloning endangered species, be they animals or trees is not entirely a new one. Chinese company Boyalife is currently constructing a cow cloning factory that hopes to produce over 1 million cows annually for high-quality beef, due to the increased demand that completely overthrows the Chinese beef supply.
In regards to plants, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault functions on very similar principles like the Michigan company, but at a much larger scale. Over 1.5 million distinct seeds are currently stored in the Norwegian vault, with an estimated maximum capacity of 4.5 million. If one of the contained species dies out in the wild, scientists will be able to extract genes from the stored seed and repopulate its numbers through cloning.
In the future, we may even see a similar process aimed at endangered animals. Even though animals are more complicated to clone when compared to plants, due to their genetic complexity, this will ensure that even if endangered species were to go extinct, we will still have the future possibility of reintroducing them into the wild.
Taking into account the fact that Florida’s Lady Liberty tree will help in growing cypress forests through cloning, there is a high probability that in the near future, massive cypress forests will appear across the US. The main problem is that these types of trees take an extremely long period of time before they are able to reach adulthood.