Agence France-Presse

Japan cuts down 'miracle pine,' a symbol of post-tsunami hope, for preservation

People watch workers cutting down a pine tree, the "miracle pine" that survived last year's tsunami, to give it anti-decay treatments and restore it in Rikuzentakata on September 12, 2012.

Japan has cut down its "miracle pine," which survived the tsunami that flattened a surrounding forest of 70,000 trees, for preservation.

The pine tree, located in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, is thought to be 270 years old, survived a series of tsunami, some more than 42 feet high, struck the shore, according to the London Daily Telegraph.  

It stood as a symbol of hope in Japan and representative of the resiliency of survivors, according to Agence France-Presse

Visitors had flocked to see it, with the Asahi Shimbun reporting that many were praying and burning incense at the site, part of the "famed" Takata Matsubara forest.

However, the 88-foot-tall tree was dying because the salt water left in the ground by the tsunami was rotting its roots.

The "miracle pine" will be sliced into pieces and treated with preservatives before being put back together, with a carbon spine, a process that is expected to cost about $2.4 million.

According to AFP, city officials set up a Facebook page earlier this year for donations to help preserve the pine.

It will put back in place by February as a symbol of the post-tsunami reconstruction.

Around 19,000 people died when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan's northeast coast 18 months ago.

More from GlobalPost: In-depth series: After the tsunami

Related Stories