These unique trees are known as the Ecuadorian walking palm trees. This tree species is supposedly capable of maneuvering and moving from 2 to 3 centimeters per day in order to change locations so that it can receive water and sunlight. This is amazing news as many of us know that such process could take a tree years to achieve.
The trees move by growing long roots
Peter Vrsansky which a palaeobiologist from the Earth Science Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences Bratislava, shared: “As the soil erodes, the tree grows new, long roots that find new and more solid ground, sometimes up to 20m,” “Then, slowly, as the roots settle in the new soil and the tree bends patiently toward the new roots, the old roots slowly lift into the air. The whole process for the tree to relocate to a new place with better sunlight and more solid ground can take a couple of years.”
The sad thing is that these walking palm trees run risk as deforestation has become a popular yet unfortunate trend. However, this mystical forest is available through purchase but only through agricultural reform. But this is still risky and unfortunate as agricultural reform supports locals to strip down trees in order to gain living rights to claim land.
Deforestation poses a huge threat to these unique trees
Vrsansky explains: “What is happening is that people come, cut down a bunch of trees and gain ownership of their piece of land. Then, after five years, as stipulated by this new law, they are able to sell the land. And they do.”
Despite such threats, this same reform actually allows conservationists to preserve the land they claim as well. Because plots are on sale for less than $500, they can easily own their private portion of the forest while preserving it for the better. This allows the rain forest to prevail and stay alive as well as flourish.
“This [cutting] is a shame, as Ecuador is one of the world countries with the highest partition of protected areas,” says Vransky, “But the trees can’t walk fast enough to escape the chainsaw and the machetes backed by current legislation.”
Article cover photo:
“Palm Tree” by Serge Melki is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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