BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. – One of the oldest tree species in the world has been found in Bladen County.

  • An ancient forest of bald cypresses has been found in Bladen County.
  • One of the oldest trees is at least 2,624 years old.
  • A number of other trees in the area are over 2,000 years old.

According to the Nature Conservancy of North Carolina, a 2,624-year-old bald cypress was found along the Black River.

Bald cypresses are the fifth oldest tree species in the world, according to the conservancy. 

Additionally, many trees surrounding have been confirmed to be over 2,000 years old.

Major Events That Happened in the Past 2,600 Years:

  • Christ walked the earth. 
  • The Roman Republic was formed and fell. *
  • The English language was created. *

The ancient forest was identified by University of Arkansas researcher Dr. David Stahle.

“Very old trees are often one-offs – a few lone survivors, but this is an intact ancient forest.” says Stahle. “When you are in that forest, you are surrounded by ancient trees. You are in one of the greatest old-growth forests in the world.  It is hard to find a place that is truly natural and hasn’t been altered by human activity.  But the Black River is as close as you can get.”

Researchers say this forest is also unique because of its accessibility.

“It’s a 45-minute drive from Wilmington. A paddler can strap their kayak to the top of their vehicle and easily make a day trip from Raleigh,” says the Conservancy’s Angie Carl, who manages the forest. “You look up and see these ancient trees draped in Spanish moss. It is like you are in a whole other world.”

These are likely the oldest trees in North America east of California. 

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