( dpa ) - In an effort to change the image of a city of skyscrapers and concrete sidewalks, New York plans to clone 1 million trees from branches on a list of 25 "historical" trees, some of them more than 100 years old.
The city's Park Commissioner Adrian Benap York announced the project after sending high school students to work on hydraulic- powered buckets to begin taking the upper branches of some of the city's oldest trees for scientific study and cloning.
"We want to break the stereotype of New York as skyscrapers and sidewalks," York told local news reports.
One target is the 100-year-old European beech on Central Park's Cherry Hill and the St Nicholas elm, which is also known as the dinosaur in upper Manhattan, which city inhabitants claim that George Washington walked under 230 years ago during the American Revolutionary Wars.
The news reports said branches taken from ancient trees would be sent to scientific laboratories in the New York region, Oregon, Canada and Britain for cloning under the programme launched in 2007 known as Million Tree NYC.
Park officials said the cloning would target "Olmsted trees" planted some 150 years ago in the city by architect Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 1850s.
They said the clones would be genetically identical trees, but not identical in the original shape. Only healthy trees would be cloned, it was said.