Oldest Forests in the World

7 Oldest Forests in the World

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Some natural forests in the world are so old, that it is difficult to even put a date to them. However, thanks to modern scientific techniques, we are now able to pinpoint roughly how old some of the oldest forests in the world are. Still present on almost every continent (sorry Antarctica), there are ancient forests in nearly every corner of the world. 

Each of these sites, for the most part, are still untouched by humanity. With the exception of occurrences of being labeled national parks, heritage sites, and so on, each of these sites looks very similar today to how they did way back when.

Just keep in mind that new scientific developments, nearby national parks that were historically part of the same forest, and other similar factors have naturally caused some places to be excluded. 

7. Pando Aspen Grove, Utah 

Age: Somewhere between 80,000 to 1 Million Years old
Countries: Utah, USA 
Size: 47,000 Stems over 100 Years

Pando Aspen Grovephoto source: Pixabay

This is one of the most mysterious “forests” in the world, since it is actually one living organism. Perhaps more interestingly, scientists aren’t even on agreement as to how old it is. Ranges estimate anywhere between 80,000 to 1 Million years old. Each of the aspens pictured above are actually part of a singular root system, which means that they are all connected.

Since dating methods like carbon dating or measuring the rings of the trees are not as accurate with a system as elaborate as the Pando, it might be years before we can give this organism an exact age. Since it is both a singular organism and a forest, this is one of the most impressive natural wonders of the world. 

Interesting Facts:

  • The Pando aspen grove is one living organism.
  • Pando is so large and elaborate that scientists don’t agree on its age
  • One of the longest living organisms, and one of the largest living organisms.
  • Currently thought to be dying.

6. Kakamega Forest 

Age: 2+ million years 
Countries: Kenya 
Size: 17 square miles 

Kakamega forestphoto source: Wikimedia 

Kakamega forestphoto source: Flickr

Kakamega forest is one of the last pieces of the great rainforest that once stretched all across the equator in Africa. Once known as the Guineo-Congolian forest, one of the few remnants of this once-great forest is the Kakamega Forest in Kenya. If you want to see one of the last pieces of Earth’s ancient history that could very well soon die to human and climatic factors, put this at the top of your list.  

Kakamega forest is just a fraction of what it once was, but it is still home to at least 400 different species of organisms. Due to natural and human-related factors, this forest may soon vanish.

Interesting Facts:

  • One of the last remnants of the once-great Guineo-Congolian rainforest which covered much of the northern African continent
  • Home to diverse groups of animals such as the buffalo, elephant, primates, and more.
  • Has many different hiking trails to provide easy access for tourists today.

5. Réunion National Forest, Madagascar 

Age: 2 to 2.5 Million years
Countries: Near Madagascar (Governed by France) 
Size: 2.12 million miles

Réunion National Forest, Madagascarphoto source: Wikimedia

This forest was built on top of an island now governed by France off the coast of Africa, near Madagascar Dating back from 2 to 2.5 million years, when the volcanic activity created the island, this is one of the oldest forests that has been consistently left untouched by human activity. Although there are much older forests in the world, the beauty of this one is unparalleled to anywhere else in the world. 

Interesting Facts:

  • Is governed by France even though it is off the African continent
  • People still live off the land in this forest.
  • The island was built by volcanic activity.

4. The Amazon Rainforest, South America 

Age: 55 million years 
Countries: Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana
Size: 2.12 million miles

The Amazon Rainforest, South Americaphoto source: Pixabay 

The Amazon Rainforest, South Americaphoto source: Pixabay

The Amazon Rainforest is one of the most impressive sites in the world. Much of the Amazon is still not connected with roads, sparking a debate in places like Peru as to whether or not this should even happen.

As a result, the best way to travel in and around the heart of the Amazon is either boat or plane. If you are a budget traveler, you will likely have to spend several days on a cargo boat to be dropped off in the middle of the Amazon. 

Since many indigenous people (both contacted and uncontacted) still live in the Amazon, this is one of the final frontiers on Earth not yet conquered by industrialism. The natives in this region still live today as they would have for thousands of years. Many people flock to the Amazon in search of what locals will call “plant medicine,” “natural medicine,” or other things such as ayahuascakambo, and other plants deemed as healing medicine by the natives in the region today. 

Because of the fleeting nature of life in the Amazon, and the thriving life which replaces it, much of the history in the Amazon has been lost in the jungle. Rumors have surfaced in recent years of lost cities and civilizations (such as the the Lost City of Z), but it is difficult to provide any sort of definitive information on these cultures. Much of the fun of visiting the Amazon is the mysterious mystic culture which is harbored by the native history. 

Interesting Facts:

  • The natives in the Amazon today live just as they would have 1000’s of years ago.
  • Travel into the heart of the amazon is only possible by boat or airplane.
  • Some of the last uncontacted tribes live in the Amazon today.
  • Some are not even aware of modern civilization

3. Taman Negara 

Age: 130 million years 
Countries: Malaysia 
Size: 1676 square miles. 

Taman Negaraphoto source: Wikimedia 

Taman Negaraphoto source: Pixabay

The Amazon Rainforest is one of the most impressive sites in the world. Much of the Amazon is still not connected with roads, sparking a debate in places like Peru as to whether or not this should even happen.

At around 130 million years of age, Taman Negara is widely considered to be one of the oldest forests in the world (and the oldest rainforest). Fresh from the ever-changing climatic factors that struck the North American and European continents, this is one of the forests in the world that has stood throughout all of human history. In fact, this forest is so old that it was around when the dinosaurs were. 

If you want to see a snapshot that can take you back into the Jurassic – Cretaceous period, this is really one of the only options you have available. Although a visit to Daintree Rainforest in Australia (above) would take you back in time a little bit further, the biological diversity and size of this rainforest simply won’t compare. 

Interesting Facts:

  • Dinosaurs lived in this rainforest.
  • Covers three different states and legistlations
  • Has lasted through million of years of climate change, and has never been touched by a disastrous natural disaster.

2. Borneo Lowland Rainforest, Indonesia 

Age: 130 – 140 million years 
Countries: Indonesia, Brunei, Indonesia 
Size: 165,000 square miles

Borneo Lowland Rainforest Indonesiaphoto source: Pixabay

Home to over 600 different species of birds, and 10 species of primates, the Borneo Lowland Rainforest is one of the oldest forests in the world. It is also becoming smaller by the minute due to a wide array of factors including deforestation, climate change, mining, and invasive species. As a result, many people have begun flocking to this natural museum to see a time-capsule of the Earth which dates back around 140 million years back in time. 

Interesting Facts:

  • Half of the world’s timber is shipped from Borneo due to deforestation.
  • One island which is legislated by three different countries
  • New species are routinely found at Borneo.

1. Daintree Rainforest, Australia 

Age: 100 – 180 million years 
Countries: Australia  
Size: 460 square miles

Daintree Rainforest Australiaphoto source: Flickr

The Daintree is one of the oldest forests in the world, dating back to prehistoric times. Outside of the history with the indigenous Aborigines, Australia wasn’t even officially discovered by the European world until the 1600s. Due to the climate of the region and what we know about Earth’s history, then, this forest dates back anywhere between 100 – 180 million years. 

The Daintree Rainforest is the largest rainforest on the Australian continent and contains over 12,000 species of insects alone. It is also considered a 3,000 species of plants, many of which are classified as rare or threatened. Due to its unique aspects, such as the presence of tree kangaroos and proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, this remains a popular tourist attraction. 

Interesting Facts:

  • The Daintree Rainforest is widely considered to be the oldest forest in the world.
  • Visiting the Daintree rainforest provides scenery and life that the dinosaurs would have seen.
  • Named after Australian photographer Richard Daintree

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