Fate of an 800 Year Ancient Tea Tree King in Jing Mai
While the incident that an over thousand year wild ancient tea tree died under the protection of a much influential international tea company is still under investigation, I saw a similar incident during my recent trip to Jing Mai wild ancient tea tree forest. An over 800 year ancient tea tree king that I visited two years ago is now lying dead outside a temple. It is not longer the one that grew in wild forest and was full of vigor and vitality. Sands and bricks are now its companion. This tea tree is highly respected by local farmers. I saw many farmers preyed for it last time I visited. The tree was in great condition at that time. I was planning to show my respect again this time, only was shocked by what I saw. Pictures of the tree from my two trips can be see on our site at http://www.teahub.com/treefate.htm .
After talking to local farmers, I found out that one international tea company that has investment interest in this area claimed that they would protect this tree. However, the so called protection was in fact destroying its natural ecological environment. I even saw a rest area for visitors was built in a short distance from the tree. How can a wild ancient tea tree cope with the sudden intrusion of human being? No doubt that the tree died after receiving the “protection”.
I do not mean to go after the company for any wrong doings. After all, the tree does not exist any more. There are not many ancient tea tree kings still alive. To protect those living fossils, all we can do is to protect the original ecological environment that those ancient tea trees live. Any behaviors that will destroy the natural ecological environment should be prohibited. As the origin of modern tea trees, the Lan Cang River area has the responsibility to protect those wild ancient tea trees.