It happened when Chairman Kim Jong Il visited the Ogasan Nature Reserve one day in July Juche 97 (2008).
Looking round the primeval forests of Mt. Oga, he was briefed on a 550-year-old pine nut tree 30 metres high and 1.2 metres in diameter. Then, he inquired how they measured the tree’s ages.
An official explained as follows: In general, a 500-year-old pine nut tree is about 1 metre in diameter at the height of a man’s chest. This tree is some 1.2 metres in diameter, so it is estimated to be 550 years old.
Nodding his approval, the Chairman toured several places in the forests.
Pointing his finger at a 280-year-old fir tree, he asked how many metres its roots spread out.
The official answered that they might have spread out 4 to 5 metres. But, the Chairman said it must have spread out further.
The official felt embarrassed for his thoughtless answer. It was because it is natural for a tree to strike its roots 2 to 3 metres further than its crown in order to maintain its balance.