Esse carvalho é tão lendário quanto o próprio Robin Hood, mas, ao contrário da lenda, ele é bem real e está lá, em pé, na floresta de Sherwood na Inglaterra.
A sua envergadura e porte majestoso poderiam muito bem ter escondido, de acordo com a lenda, Robin Hood e seu bando do Xerife de Nottingham. A envergadura e porte valeram-lhe o título de árvore do ano na Inglaterra em 2014. O exemplar trata-se de um velho carvalho com cerca de 1.000 anos na Floresta de Sherwood, em Nottinghamshire.

major-oak-england

Estima-se que o carvalho (Quercus suber) tenha entre 800 a 1.000 anos e é um dos 997 exemplares seculares que existem na Floresta de Sherwood. O carvalho, que é conhecido por Major Oak, pesa 23 toneladas, tem um tronco com um diâmetro de dez metros e uma copa que se espalha por um raio de 28 metros e 20 metros de altura.
O segredo para a longevidade deste carvalho foi a sorte de ter crescido sozinho, sem ter de partilhar o espaço ou os nutrientes do solo com outras árvores.

major-oak-england-003

Nas décadas recentes, a maior ameaça tem sido a presença, a curiosidade e a gentileza das pessoas.
Em 1904, foram colocadas apoios nos seus ramos para suportarem o próprio peso, mas a árvore já cresceu em seu redor. Recentemente, partes que estavam ocas e ameaçavam a estrutura da árvore foram preenchidas com cimento, depois com chumbo e agora com fibra de vidro. Mas a atual equipe que zela pela sua vida resolveu deixá-lo seguir agora o seu curso natural com pouca intervenção humana.

major-oak-england-002

Aos milhares de admiradores do espécime é apenas permitido abraçar a árvore uma vez por ano, durante um evento para apanhar seus frutos chamados de bolotas. Foi necessário implementar a medida e cercar a árvore porque a compactação do solo acima das raízes, provocadas pelos milhares de pés das pessoas que a visitavam, estavam por matá-la.
O título de ‘Árvore da Inglaterra’ foi-lhe atribuído através de votação pública, num concurso organizado pela Woodland Trust.

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