Climate change could be killing Africa's iconic baobab trees
People shelter from the sun under a Baobab tree in the Mindara neighborhood in Bissau on Mardi Gras on February 13, 2018. Boabab trees Ñ an icon of the African continent and the heart of many traditional African remedies and folklore Ñ are dying across the continent, and scientists are trying to understand why.
A tourist takes a photograph in the "Avenue of the Baobabs", a famous natural reserve in western Madagascar, near Morondava, on Nov. 7, 2011. The "Avenue of the Baobabs" was designated as a protected zone in 2007 after a sugar factory flooded the area with water for several years and farmers started cultivating rice on the lands, causing ancestral baobab trees to rot and fall. The site was restored through conservation efforts and the active participation of the local "Fanamby" organization which worked on teaching dry-land farming practices to families living nearby and started a small outlet for making and selling handicrafts.
A baobab tree is surrounded by reeds and stagnant water in an area outside the "Avenue of the Baobabs", a famous natural reserve in western Madagascar, near Morondava, on Nov. 7, 2011. A new study finds that 9 of the 13 oldest trees in Africa have died over the past decade, and the authors suggest that climate change may be affecting the ability of the baobab to survive.
People walk along the "Avenue of the Baobabs", a famous natural reserve in western Madagascar, near Morondava, on Nov. 7, 2011. The trees may live for 2,000 years or more.
A man walks along the "Avenue of the Baobabs", a famous natural reserve in western Madagascar, near Morondava, on Nov. 7, 2011.
In this file photo taken on October 26, 2010 Maasai people gather under a baobab tree at Oltukai, 62 miles west of Arusha, Tanzania, during a political rally organized by the incumbent Monduli Member of Parliament. Mysterious deaths are striking the largest and oldest African baobab trees, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Plants. Baobabs also known as dead-rat trees, after the shape of their fruit are among the most distinctive plants in the world, with stout, massive, branchless trunks that can look like pillars. African baobabs can live for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and can contain hundreds of square meters of wood and some have massive hollow centers.
Two Baobab trees at the Pafuri game reserve on July 23, 2010 in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in South Africa spanning 19,000 square kilometers and is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
A giant Baobab tree at the Pafuri game reserve on July 22, 2010 in Kruger National Park, South Africa. The deaths of the trees will have a big impact on the southern African landscape, as in addition to shade, the treeÕs bark, roots, seeds, and fruit are key food sources for many animals, according to Science magazine.
People walk down a road lined with Baobab trees, also known as the "tree of life", in Fandene on July 25, 2008. In Senegal, villagers have always known about the health benefits of baobab fruit, which only now have been discovered by Europe in what could spell magic for localities like Fandene. Locals use nearly every part of the tree, whose processed fruit was approved for European import last month.
Students gather around a baobab tree on August 29, 2007, to pray at the Sand School of dance in Toubab Dialaw.