Loggers Accidentally Cut Down World’s Oldest Tree in Amazon Forest

Illegal loggers at the frontier of the Peruvian and Brazilian border have mistakenly cut down what experts claim is the world’s oldest tree after allegedly not noticing they were logging deeply in Matsés Indigenous Reserve, an area where logging is illegal, infuriating local conservation organizations and native indigenous communities.

The giant Samauma tree, that is thought to be over 5,800 years old judging on its concentric rings and estimated to be close to 40 meters in height, was a major part of the native tribes’ cultural landscape, countless generations of natives having witnessed the long duration of the tree and having included it in their own culture.

«It is the Mother spirit of the rainforest, from this spirit-tree came the life force of all things living. They have destroyed Aotlcp-Awak, they have brought darkness upon not only our people, but the whole world» explains local tribesman leader Tahuactep of the Matsés tribe.


Native communities alarmed local media outlets and conservation groups when Aotlcp-Awak, or Mother tree in local dialects, was reported sawed down by heavy machinery

«For many generations, the Mother tree has brought my people health and good fortune. The roots of the Mother tree spread throughout the rainforest and bring its life spirit to the world. What will be left of the animals, of the plants, and of our people now that the Mother spirit is gone?» asks Kalahuaptl, a local shaman.

«They have murdered the Mother spirit knowingly, they have done this to kill our people and take the spoils of the land» he adds, visibly shaken by the destruction of the millennia-old Samauma tree.

Anna Golding, a local researcher for non-profit organization and conservancy group Rainforest Protection Coalition (RPC), an initiative stemming from Berkeley University in California, believes the ‘incident’ was intentional.

« There are large portions of this national reserve that are rich in oil and natural gas. There has been committed action by energy corporations to lobby the government to exploit the area for years. The protected zones have been cut in half over the past decade and this is only their latest attempt to get rid of the local populations who are fighting to preserve their cultural heritage and lifestyle» she admits.

«These actions are clearly perpetrated with the consent of local authorities and the government. If this wasn’t the case, why are local enforcement agencies not prosecuting these corporations? Why are these loggers free to keep doing what they are doing? That is the bigger question» she adds.

Between 1991 and 2014, the total area of forest lost in the Amazon has more than tripled, with most of the lost forest becoming pasture for cattle.

Rainforests are the richest places on earth holding the majority of the planet’s biodiversity, yet 100 acres of rainforests are cleared every minute, estimates a recent 2017 World Resources Institute report.

37 Comments on "Loggers Accidentally Cut Down World’s Oldest Tree in Amazon Forest"

  1. This is a sad day, not just for the local people who are experiencing this, but for the world.

    • Colleen Linseman | December 9, 2014 at 5:47 pm |

      My heart is going into very deep silence and prayer for this ancient beauty of life who was just killed over greed. This insanity must stop, send your blessings beloveds these are the lung’s of our EARTH…there are no accidents, we as a collective must grieve over this together and give our thanks for all this ancient beauty has gifted us for all these years….All my relations!!!

  2. rather than rhino horn or shark fin or bear bile or tiger penis, i have experienced that eating the ground cartilage of illegal loggers gives longevity and power. heh 6 problems solved in 1 statement.

    • Agreed.


      Lopping the legs of all of the illegal loggers, I have no qualms about.

    • Cpt. Obvious | December 10, 2014 at 4:57 am |

      I’m sure most of the guys working in this outfit were practically slave labor. Limit your bile-spewing to the owners of the business.

    • the illegal loggers should be the least of your concerns, your eyes and thirst should be set on the big money that empowers them….

    • greed will destroy all the mother trees. I am comforted in the knowledge that there are people in the world that know that trees must live. until the ignorant governments and the love of money no longer exist, we will be forced to watch this horror continue until the last tree is gone. forgive them father, for they know not what they do……

  3. I would be proud of our military and its leaders if they were protecting rainforests and their people instead of killing people for more oil.

    • I completely agree!

    • Yeah right! The USA, that is the most polluting country in the world, who produces 5 times more waste than the whole world combined, who cut down virtually all its vegetation, should intervene in my Country and kill my people to protect the rainforests that produces the illegal wood the USA itself buys?

      Dude, I am sorry but your ignorance is such… you have no idea about the presence of your Country and your private military contractors already in Amazon forest to guarantee the safety of loggers cutting wood inside indian’s protected territories!

    • I agree, Woody.

    • Shove their armed forces in the ass.

      When , in the sixteenth century, Europeans began to colonize the territory that is now the United States had 445 million hectares of forests. In 1994 , less than 5 % of the original forests : a little over 22 million hectares (remembering that the total territírio US is 936 million hectares). But the destruction or replacement by artificial or homogênas forests continues at a rate of at least 159 000 hectares per year (an extension slightly larger than the city of São Paulo , which has 149 000 hectares ) .

    • Marjan Hoogendoorn | December 11, 2014 at 5:07 pm |

      Me too!!

    • Dont mind davi, He is to angry and full of hate to see that you only meant what you said to be good and to help.

    • Annegret Allison | December 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm |

      I totally agree with this as well. The first thing that came into my mind, when I read about this totally devastating crime, was the Movie ” Avatar “. I am so sad about what happened to that old tree. Trees who manage to get that old should be protected (apart from that all old and young trees should have some sort of protection, to make sure that we are not ending up living in one massive big desert. Everyone who cuts down a tree for profit, should be made by law to plant at least 5 new trees and if they don`t do this they should be fined. Depending on the daily income of the company who is cutting these trees down they should be made to pay a fine of half a years profit. Maybe that would teach them a lesson (but unfortunately in most countries even the law and their law enforcement officers, lawyers, prosecutors and judges are corrupt. This world is getting so sad. Hope that it will be not GREED for power and money that will kill this planet one day

    • yes I agree!!!

  4. Ann Gelsheimer | December 9, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Reply

    What the loggers have done with the complicity of the government officials is horrendous. I am so sad for the Matses people and for all of us around the world that there are such soulless business practices permitted. This is such a terrible loss, and even more disturbing that people chose to do this to such a venerable tree. My hope is that this will become a massive wake-up call to the whole world that we need to enforce the protection of all aspects of the ecosystem and particularly the rainforests.

  5. This is clearly intentional… the death of such a Tree is shattering to say the least and the effects are beyond the understanding of many …. but not all ..For many generations, the Mother tree has brought my people health and good fortune. The roots of the Mother tree spread throughout the rainforest and bring its life spirit to the world. What will be left of the animals, of the plants and of our people now that the Mother spirit is gone» asks Kalahuaptl, a local shaman. «They have murdered the Mother spirit knowingly, they have done this to kill our people and take the spoils of the land» he adds, visibly shaken by the destruction of the millennia-old Samauma tree. –

    • I would like to express my revulsion @ this inane act of criminal vandalism ! At the same time I think that loss must be turned into a positive as best we can ! I would like to receive a remnant of this spirit tree no matter how big , perhaps some sort of fund to further protect the amazon rain forest could be established and collected by the Matses people thru the sale of the remains and designated to their struggle ! We had a similar catastrophe happen in Canada , it was a Golden Spruce and was the only one to exist !sadly it too was felled by a disgruntled logger who wanted to attract attention to the devastation of the forests on Hydaii Gwye

    • The world is watching and bad luck will come to those who have committed this murder.

    • @Burly. I think i understand why you would “like to receive a remnant of this spirit tree.” I fear others will feel the way you do, and the pieces of this tree will sell for top dollar.
      I don’t want a piece of this ancient tree which was murdered for profit. I will not support poachers or anyone who destroys the rain forest.

    • Gale Iannone | December 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm |

      I agree with Burly’s suggestions. I have advocated for the same with two important trees that were felled by storms here in New Haven County in Connecticut. Through my suggestions, logs from these trees were saved to have local artists create meaningful pieces and having them displayed so people would be reminded that ancient trees are sacred living things that should be protected.

    • There must be more trees that are 5 thousand years old. That cannot be the only one.

    • They new what they had been doing at the time any person would relize if they had to stand infront of a tree, they did it for the money not thinking of how it could affect others

    • it is so sad we need to do something to stop it but Wat can be don it,s happening her in Indonesia to fast food is to blame big biz is fucking us all and government is doing nothing to stop it
      love Rom Romulus Yaari

    • The world is watching, judging but unfortunately doing nothing. That is the biggest crime of all – I’m sure we could end logging in the Amazon and a myriad of other despicable acts but unfortunately humanity is not pulling together to stop these problems and we’ll all suffer the long term consequences.

    • the filthy greed of man !!! you bastards !! how dare anyone or little group think they can do things like this unless ALL the people consent .they should have death penalty for this crime .

    • all I can do after reading all of this is cry. if this has happened the way it has been portrayed, shame be on all of us. we did not let it happen, but we did not see better than. now we know better. my opinion goes towards health and happiness.for us all. because what I just read is an action of the worst and most greedy part of our race as human beings. our life deserves better here

    • This is a very sad moment! This tyrany must end!! What will it take for these people that have no reverence for life to wake up?

    • john apicelli | December 12, 2014 at 10:26 pm |

      Nail the violators too the fallen tree.

    • Mark, you’re either missing the point or being deliberately obtuse. This tree plays a central role in the spiritual universe of these people. Many people (especially whites) can’t (or won’t) understand that, because they feel trees are not independent, living beings – to most (white) people, they are only material for making (useless) stuff – trees, in and of themselves, are not dignified with the same qualities as humans. This is a sad indictment of those who are short-sighted and mean-spirited, not on those who know that loggers just killed a magnificent being in their universe.

    • the tree must be allowed to decompose naturally as if it had fallen there without human interference. it will continue to feed the forest even in death. this is the way with trees. it is only when we preserve them with chemicals and keep them out of contact with the cycles of nature that they lose their ability to feed what feeds them and us. it is terribly sad that this tree has been taken down in such an ugly way. let us honor it with the awareness that the life of the forest it was part of can be stewarded and many more trees can grow in it’s place. through all our hardships and deaths we must continue with love.

    • It was just a tree…

    • It is a crying shame they cut this big old tree down. But there was no spirit to that tree, it was made for man’s use. Put your faith in the only living GOD and his son JESUS and things wil go better for you and your tribe.

    • shauna-lee chanin | December 21, 2014 at 2:36 pm |

      How disgusting! Do we have to destroy everything good in this world?

    • Oh, for Pete’s sake. It’s just a tree. Not the fault of the Loggers that some primitive savages hold ridiculous superstitions about it. They’re gonna have to grow up and get over it. We need the wood. Plus, all those big trees have to go so we can drain that disease infested swamp and get our oil derricks and mining gear in there. Heating and powering the homes of a billion Chinese takes a lot of oil and coal…

    • wow nice poetry but i agree this was intentional

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