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Media Resources

Introduction

The following media resources aim to provide writers with accurate information about the Pando tree and Friends of Pando activities. The page is organized as follows:

  • Friends of Pando Overview
  • The Challenges of Communicating “Pando”
  • Introducing the Pando Tree
  • Pando: Fact and Fiction
  • Images for your Articles

Friends of Pando Overview

media resources Friends of Pando logo - stacked color

The Challenges of Communicating About Pando

Friends of Pando believes that those who write about the tree also have a role to play in future and long term health of the tree. We’ve designed these media resources to empower writers to help the public understand the science and the complexity of the issues involved. 

As a relatively recent discovery, one of the primary challenges of writing about Pando, is how little we actually know about the tree. Complicating matters is the fact that until Friends of Pando got underway, there was no group dedicated solely to Pando and the land it calls home.  Prior to Friends of Pando, nearly all stories about the tree originated from groups who have no long-term ties to the communities where decision-making and the work that needs be done, must physically happen.

Additionally, false, inaccurate and misleading information discourages interest and dilutes a sense of shared ownership. After all, if the tree were actually 80,000 years old (in effect, immortal, which it is not), or conversely, is doomed to die (it is not) -why should anyone care to support research and monitoring or care about the human experience of the tree? 

To that end, the media resources provided here are designed to help journalists separate fact from fiction and we hope, will help them understand the broad variety of issues, concerns, groups and activities working to ensure Pando can be preserved and enjoyed for generations to come.

Introducing the Pando Tree

Learn about the tree

Read the “What is the Pando Tree“. The text in this article provides a broad overview about the tree, its discovery, the land it calls home and the human story of the tree. The text of that overview is also what is featured on exhibits Friends of Pando has designed. (Lance Oditt, Paul Rogers and Nick Mustoe)

Articles about Pando

You can visit “The Pando Tree” page for a growing list of articles, insights and commentaries about the tree that have been created by respected scientists, commentators and authorities in their domain.  (Various)

Pando Science Citations

In addition to the above resources, Friends of Pando has collated the following citations of existing cultural and scientific documents about Pando and the land it calls home. You can download  a PDF of this guide below.

Pando: Fact and Fiction

Providing accurate information about the tree is part of the Friends of Pando mission. Refuting false, inaccurate and misleading information is equally important. Below is a list of commonly misreported information and the corresponding corrections. Before quoting “facts” from other articles, we encourage you see if that item is on the list below.

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False, Inaccurate, or Misleading

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Fact

Pando is 40,000 or 80,000 years old

This statement is false and misleading since there is no way to reliably test Pando’s age. Many scientists believe Pando could NOT be any older than 8,000 to 12,000 years since ice age era weather currents made the area inhospitable until that time period. 

Pando is 106 acres

This statement is inaccurate. Pando spans an area of around 106 acres but not all of that area is visible to humans nor, actively regenerating. The most recent maps show the “visible” size to be about 103 acres.

Pando is not the world’s largest tree.

This statement is false and misleading. Pando is five times larger by weight than the next largest tree of any type. Pando is also twice the size of the next largest Aspen Clone (103 versus 47 acres). Distinctions made by forestry and botanical organizations about the “largest plants” vary considerably but  Pando is the largest tree when measured by multiple standards, which is not true for any other single tree nor, clone tree.

Pando is the world’s largest organism.

The use of the word “organism” is misleading. Although Pando challenges traditional notions of what a tree is, or, what a tree can be, there is no question that Pando is a tree. The use of the word “organism” leads people to believe there is some comparison between Pando and other clonal lifeforms that are not trees which may in fact, be bigger in a single dimension, but not across all the dimensions that describes Pando’s incredible scale.   

The Humongous Fungus is larger than Pando.

This statement is inaccurate and misleading. First off, multiple fungal bodies bear the name “Humongous Fungus” (Oregon and Michigan each have one, and another has been reported in Italy). Secondly, in terms of raw size, Pando is over 13 times larger by weight than the estimated weight of the “Humoungous Fungus” of Michigan (13.2 Million lbs. versus. 874,000 lbs. ) while weight estimates vary wildly about the Oregon fungus. Third, the statement compares two unrelated things, a tree and a fungal body when approaches to understanding vary wildly.

Pando is dying.

This statement is false and misleading. Pando continues to regenerate itself. Research by Paul Rogers indicates deer and other ungulates stymie its growth, but as a recent discovery in a class of its own, we do not yet know the rate of regeneration we might expect for Pando considering all other factors.  

We could just clone Pando to solve its problems.

This statement is false and misleading. We cannot clone the Pando because what makes Pando unique is how it operates as a whole in its homeland.

Pando lives in a wilderness area.

This is false, Pando lives an in an area designated for recreation. The land Pando calls home has been used for recreational purposes for some 1,500 years. Furthermore, the land Pando calls home would not qualify as wilderness by any existing designation for wilderness we have today.

The Forest Service isn’t doing anything.

This is misleading and inaccurate and should be considered an opinion as it is not factual. The Forest Service led the effort to begin to protect Pando in the 1980’s and continues to support a wide variety of efforts to protect it today. You can read an overview of their work on the tree using this link.

The Forest Service wants tear Pando apart out so they can set up more recreation.

This is misleading and inaccurate. The Fishlake National Forest recognizes Pando in their planning documents as a special and unique place they want to protect.

Cattle grazing is destroying Pando.

This is misleading and should be considered a position and not factual for a number of reasons. First, the majority of Pando is protected by a fence (around 55 acres). Second, the Forest Service monitors and has prosecuted groups who violate grazing permit quotas. Third, the largest organized ranchers group has agreed to and, pledged their support to fence-off the the small area of Pando they have historically used for grazing, in effect, self banishing themselves. That fence has yet to be installed. We will update this once it has.

Tourism is destorying Pando.

This is misleading and inaccurate and should be considered a position and not factual for a number of reasons. First, no one lives in and around Pando year round- everyone is a tourist. Second, no independently verified data exists about actual human usage of Pando’s one marked trail. Finally, such a statement marginalizes a variety of successful policies that can be employed as they have been for decades by other National Forests and Park lands to protect special trees from human damage.

Fencing will protect Pando.

This is inaccurate and should be considered a position. Fencing, when it works, is a short term solution to allow the tree to recuperate from damaging land policies put in place before Pando’s discovery. Fencing helps keep deer out which we know are doing severe damage to the tree, but deer are not the only problem. Pando is also fighting off three diseases about which, we have no independently verified data on how to approach and resolve.

Note on Sources: We do not share third party contact information without the express permission of that party.
We would be happy to refer you to direct sources and answer any other questions you may have via our Contact Us page.

Images for Your Article

The following images may be used with permission and proper citation for scientifically accurate stories and articles related to Friends of Pando and the Pando Tree. Please send email to [email protected] for large scale images.

media resources - pando official photo
Credit: Lance Oditt. Detailed photo of one of Pando's over 40,000 branches.
media resources - aerial view of Pando
Credit: Lance Oditt Aerial view of Pando from above with approximate area of the Pandos' 106 acre land mass in green.
media resources - Janis Connell - Pando in summer
Credit: Janis Connell A view of Pando in summer as seen from across Fish lake.
media resources - Janis Connell - Aspen regeneration
Credit: Janis Connell A shot taken in the Aspen Renegeration Project grove of the Pando shows what we might expect a healthy tree would look like.

About Us

Friends of Pando is a not-for-profit organization operating under fiscal sponsorship of Snow College via in kind donations.

To learn more about how you can support our work, visit the About Us Page. 

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© 2021 | Design Hope Smith BA / Lance Oditt

435-633-1893 | [email protected]