How fat are baobab trees?

This week I did my annual trip to Skelmwater.  This is a baobab research plot situated near Musina long the N1.  Skelmwater was established in 1930 by the late Professor de Villiers of Stellenbosch University.  The aim was to measure the rate of growth of baobabs in their natural environment.   Despite the small number of baobabs in the plot, the long term observation has provided invaluable data in growth, health, reproduction and the effects of climate.  Dr Diana Mayne and I have been doing the measurements at the plot since 2002. Can you believe that this little tree (see photo with my field assistant Alexio Gundani) has been measured for 83 years, carbon dating results show that this tree is 130 years old! I hope to do the 100th year measurement in 17 year’s time when I am 57 years old, I should still be feeling young!

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