tagged w/ Redwoods
One group hopes that a proliferation of the massive trees will contain rising carbon emissions. Redwoods can digest copious amounts of carbon dioxide.
By Chris Gayomali | Earth Day 2013
A recent study from Oregon State and Harvard University revealed that Earth is currently warmer than any given point in the past 11,300 years. Indeed, with 98 percent of climate scientists with degrees and facts and stuff now saying that human activity is contributing directly to rising temperatures, the question naturally becomes: What should we do?
One idea: Plant a lot of gigantic trees with a glutton's appetite for carbon dioxide. According to the Associated Press, an organization called the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is spearheading a movement to plant California's towering redwood trees in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and other parts of the United States. The ancient trees are capable of growing to heights nearing 400 feet, or about the length of a skyscraper.
"We need to reforest the planet; it's imperative," says David Milarch, one of the organization's co-founders. "To do that, it just makes sense to use the largest, oldest, most iconic trees that ever lived."
In order to mass-produce the trees, the group is cloning redwoods that have lived for thousands of years. The AP explains:
“[The group has] developed several methods of producing genetic copies from cuttings, including placing branch tips less than an inch long in baby food jars containing nutrients and hormones. The specimens are cultivated in labs until large enough to be planted.”
The initial inventory of several thousand saplings was taken from a group of 70 redwoods and giant sequoias. According to NASA engineer Steve Craft, previous research has demonstrated that these monstrous organisms are capable of digesting much more carbon than any other tree on the planet.
Cloning and nurturing new redwoods is hardly the only creative idea put out there to fight manmade emissions. According to the Mother Nature Network, other proposals include artificial trees that suck carbon dioxide out of the air, and great ships that spew enviromentally friendly cloud formations.
Obviously, no single plan is a cure-all, but, as proponents suggest, it sure beats doing nothing. "If we get enough of these trees out there," says Milarch, "we'll make a difference."One group hopes that a proliferation of the massive trees will contain rising carbon... more
A tree-climbing scientist and his team have learned surprising new facts about giant sequoias by measuring them inch by inch.
On a gentle slope above a trail junction in Sequoia National Park, about 7,000 feet above sea level in the southern Sierra Nevada, looms a very big tree. Its trunk is rusty red, thickened with deep layers of furrowed bark, and 27 feet in diameter at the base. Its footprint would cover your dining room. Trying to glimpse its tippy top, or craning to see the shape of its crown, could give you a sore neck. That is, this tree is so big you can scarcely look at it all. It has a name, the President, bestowed about 90 years ago by admiring humans. It’s a giant sequoia, a member of Sequoiadendron giganteum, one of several surviving species of redwoods.
It’s not quite the largest tree on Earth. It’s the second largest. Recent research by scientist Steve Sillett of Humboldt State University and his colleagues has confirmed that the President ranks number two among all big trees that have ever been measured—and Sillett’s team has measured quite a few. It doesn’t stand so tall as the tallest of coast redwoods or of Eucalyptus regnans in Australia, but height isn’t everything; it’s far more massive than any coast redwood or eucalypt. Its dead spire, blasted by lightning, rises to 247 feet. Its four great limbs, each as big as a sizable tree, elbow outward from the trunk around halfway up, billowing into a thick crown like a mushroom cloud flattening against the sky. Although its trunk isn’t quite so bulky as that of the largest giant, the General Sherman, its crown is fuller than the Sherman’s. The President holds nearly two billion leaves.
Trees grow tall and wide-crowned as a measure of competition with other trees, racing upward, reaching outward for sunlight and water. And a tree doesn’t stop getting larger—as a terrestrial mammal does, or a bird, their size constrained by gravity—once it’s sexually mature. A tree too is constrained by gravity, but not in the same way as a condor or a giraffe. It doesn’t need to locomote, and it fortifies its structure by continually adding more wood. Given the constant imperative of seeking resources from the sky and the soil, and with sufficient time, a tree can become huge and then keep growing. Giant sequoias are gigantic because they are very, very old.
They are so old because they have survived all the threats that could have killed them. They’re too strong to be knocked over by wind. Their heartwood and bark are infused with tannic acids and other chemicals that protect against fungal rot. Wood-boring beetles hardly faze them. Their thick bark is flame resistant. Ground fires, in fact, are good for sequoia populations, burning away competitors, opening sequoia cones, allowing sequoia seedlings to get started amid the sunlight and nurturing ash. Lightning hurts the big adults but usually doesn’t kill them. So they grow older and bigger across the millennia.
Another factor that can end the lives of big trees, of course, is logging. Many giant sequoias fell to the ax during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But the wood of the old giants was so brittle that trunks often shattered when they hit the ground, and what remained had little value as lumber. It went into shingles, fence posts, grape stakes, and other scrappy products. Given the difficulties of dealing with logs 20 feet thick, broken or unbroken, the trees were hardly worth cutting. Sequoia National Park was established in 1890, and automobile tourism soon showed that giant sequoias were worth more alive.
One thing to remember about them, as Steve Sillett explained to me during a conversation amid the trees, is that they withstand months of frigid conditions. Their preferred habitat is severely wintry, so they must be strong while frozen. Snow piles up around them; it weights their limbs while the temperature wobbles in the teens. They handle the weight and the cold with aplomb, as they handle so much else. “They’re a snow tree,” he said. “That’s their thing.”
Among the striking discoveries made by Sillett’s team is that even the rate of growth of a big tree, not just its height or total volume, can increase during old age. An elderly monster like the President actually lays down more new wood per year than a robust young tree. It puts that wood around the trunk, which grows wider, and into the limbs and the branches, which grow thicker.
This finding contradicts a long-held premise in forest ecology—that wood production decreases during the old age of a tree. That premise, which has justified countless management decisions in favor of short-rotation forestry, may hold true for some kinds of trees in some places, but not for giant sequoias (or other tall species, including coast redwoods). Sillett and his team have disproved it by doing something that earlier forest ecologists didn’t: climbing the big trees—climbing all over them—and measuring them inch by inch.
With blessings and permits from the National Park Service, they performed such high-altitude metrics on the President. This was part of a larger study, a long-term monitoring project on giant sequoias and coast redwoods called the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative. Sillett’s group put a line over the President’s crown, rigged climbing ropes into position (with special protectors for the tree’s cambium), donned harnesses and helmets, and went up. They measured the trunk at different heights; they measured limbs, branches, and burls; they counted cones; they took core samples using a sterilized borer. Then they fed the numbers through mathematical models informed by additional data from other giant sequoias. That’s how they came to know that the President contains at least 54,000 cubic feet of wood and bark. And that’s how they detected that the old beast, at about the age of 3,200, is still growing quickly. It’s still inhaling great breaths of CO₂ and binding the carbon into cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin in a growing season interrupted by six months of cold and snow. Not bad for an oldster.
That’s the remarkable thing about them, Sillett told me. “Half the year, they’re not growing above ground. They’re in the snow.” They grow bigger than their biggest compeer, the coast redwood, even with a shorter growing season.
Continued at linkA tree-climbing scientist and his team have learned surprising new facts about giant... more
Woah, this is one very tall tree. Nine years ago, it was the tallest known plant in the world.
It's 369 feet high. That's about twice the size of the Statue of Liberty (minus the foundation). I like this tree. The people who discovered it have never revealed its true location, which is somewhere in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. And though it's got a nickname, "Stratosphere Giant," it is no longer the giant. It's been trumped.
After its short four-year reign as World's Tallest, two hikers, Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, were deep in another section of another park, Redwood National Park (purchased in 1978 during the Carter administration) when they came across a new stand of trees, taller than anyone had ever seen before. The tallest of the tall is 379 feet 4 inches, 10 feet taller than the Giant. It's now called "Hyperion."
We have the precise measurements because after Chris and Michael announced their discovery, a team of scientists, led by Humboldt State University ecologist Steve Sillett, climbed to the top of the tree and dropped a tape down to the ground. Some things are still that simple. Steve's colleague, Jim Spickler (check out his biceps! scary), repeated the climb and brought a camera, so we can go with him. This video, which comes with dramatic music in all the right places, is, to use a much overused word, but I'll use it anyway..."awesome":
Once again, no one is telling where the new champ is located. People will want to see it, photograph it, climb it, carve little souvenirs out of it. Trees, says Steve Sillett, are not like people. They "cannot run away from paparazzi." He asked us not to even mention the nickname, "Hyperion," but I figure the nickname gives away nothing. Anyway, the Who's Biggest title keeps changing.Woah, this is one very tall tree. Nine years ago, it was the tallest known plant in... more
This is a "video brochure" I whipped together during the 36 hours following this treesit and banner hanging in the redwoods of Humboldt County's Richardson Grove State Park on Monday, February 21, 2011. CalTrans is planning a road widening project that would damage what is already a delicate grove of ancient redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park.This is a "video brochure" I whipped together during the 36 hours following... more
The fog that chills Northern California summers and regularly buries the Golden Gate Bridge in a white cloud may be in decline.
The California fog is a creature of a strange climate along the California coast. Biologist James Johnstone from the University of California, Berkeley, a native Virginian, realized just how strange when he moved there.
"It can be 55 degrees and humid along the coast, but if you go up a mountain slope or go inland just a few miles you can go to 80 or 90 degrees and, you know, 20 percent humidity," he says.
This soggy to toasty divide — scientists call it a "gradient" — is part of what causes California's coastal fog. The other part is what's going on in the ocean.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123771983The fog that chills Northern California summers and regularly buries the Golden Gate... more
A surprising new study finds that during the past century the frequency of fog along California's coast has declined by approximately three hours a day. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the researchers are concerned that this decrease in fog threatens California's giant redwoods and the unique ecosystem they inhabit.
As fog decreases, the mature redwoods along the coast are not likely to die outright, but there may be less recruitment of new trees; they will look elsewhere for water, high humidity and cooler temperatures," explains coauthor Todd E. Dawson, professor of integrative biology and University of California, Berkeley professor of integrative biology with the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM).
"What does that mean for the current redwood range and that of the plants and animals with them?" he adds.
Evaluating data from airports along the northern California coast, researchers were able to find a steady link in the occurrence of coastal fog and large temperature differences between coast and inland areas. Then by examining temperature data from 114 stations up and down the Pacific Coast, the researchers found that the temperature contrasts between coast and inland areas had shrunk over the past century leading to a decline in fog.
Article continues: http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0215-hance_redwood.htmlA surprising new study finds that during the past century the frequency of fog along... more
For anyone who's taken a cruise down the Avenue of the Giants or went looking for Stormtroopers within Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park, you're apt to feel a great deal of appreciation for the image just after the break. Michael Nichols, a National Geographic photographer, rigged up a ridiculous camera setup that was strategically lowered from the top of a 300-foot tree to the ground in order to get an astoundingly tall (and downright breathtaking) shot. Oh, and while you're gawking at the pixels down there, feel free to mash play on that video to see how it all came together.For anyone who's taken a cruise down the Avenue of the Giants or went looking for... more
In the Santa Cruz mountains in California 2,000 residents have been forced to evacuate their homes due to a massive 2,800 acre wildfire.
I live very close to this fire so this is scary to me. Luckily it appears as if no one has been injured so far. There are more than 300 firefighters battling this fire.
The fire is located on top of the mountains, and is being carried by the heavy winds over the last couple of days. Located near this fire is a Lockheed-Martin test facility. I can smell the smoke now and there are constant fly-overs just about 20 miles away. The smoke from the fire has streamed down the entire coast, and is now visible from space.
Fire Stories from Santa Cruz County:
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_9657122In the Santa Cruz mountains in California 2,000 residents have been forced to evacuate... more
New owners convince activists ancient groves will remain untouched
Evelyn Nieves | The Associated Press
SCOTIA, Calif. — After more than 20 years of protests, the last two people living in the giant redwoods of Northern California were climbing down for good, convinced by the new owners of the forest that the ancient trees would be spared from the saw.
Still, the tree sitters looked rather lost.
Having lived nearly 200 feet off the ground for 11 months, Nadia Berg — who calls herself Cedar — seemed unsure of her footing on the lush forest floor of Humboldt County's Nanning Creek grove. Cedar had made herself at home in a tree dubbed Grandma, a massive double redwood joined at the base, and had grown accustomed to the whistles and whispers and ways of the woods.
"Being here, for me, hasn't been a sacrifice," said the 22-year-old Alberta, Canada, native, still in her harness after rappelling down Grandma last week for the final time. "I feel so honored that I could be here for the trees."
Berg's neighbor, Billy Stoetzer, a 22-year-old activist from the Missouri Ozarks, came down last week, too, after living for nearly a year in a hammocklike shelter in the branches of Spooner, a 300-foot mammoth at least 1,500 years old.
With that, the great timber wars of the North Coast came to an end.
It was a long, twilight struggle that redefined environmental activism and introduced the American public to a new type of civil disobedience — tree-sitting.
So quietly did the truce happen that almost no one involved can believe it. But the drawn-out, sometimes violent, battles between Pacific Lumber Co., the largest private owner of old-growth redwoods, and environmental activists who flocked here to save the trees, are history. Pacific Lumber has new owners, a new name — Humboldt Redwood Co. — and a new pledge to protect old trees, some of which were around before Jesus was born.
The end began a few weeks ago, when Michael Jani, the president and chief forester of the new Humboldt Redwood Co., hiked into the woods to meet the tree-sitters. "I went out, looked at the trees, looked at the stand of trees that were around them, and I explained to them that under our policy, we would not be cutting those trees," said Jani, a 35-year veteran of logging companies.
Protecting old-growth trees was part of the plan that Humboldt Redwood, largely owned by Don and Doris Fisher of The Gap Inc., submitted to acquire Pacific Lumber in bankruptcy court. Among other things, Humboldt Redwood promised to spare any redwood born prior to 1800 with a diameter of at least 4 feet. It also pledged to avoid clear-cutting, or cutting down trees in vast swaths, a practice that the timber giant aggressively practiced under its previous owner, Maxxam Inc.
Environmentalists are cautiously optimistic the company will do as it promises. So for weeks, the tree-sitters at the Nanning Creek and Fern Gully groves have been clearing out their encampments, removing their platforms and figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives.
"At this point, I'd like to focus on growing a garden," said an activist who goes by the nom de guerre Rudi Bega, as in rutabaga. The 28-year-old Idahoan is an 11-year veteran of the timber wars who helped recruit, train and organize tree-sitters.
Read rest of article at link above -
From TouchArt and OneEarthBlog.blogspot.com in Santa Fe, New Mexico.New owners convince activists ancient groves will remain untouched Evelyn Nieves |... more
Our National Parks keep the wilderness of our country open and free. Long may they protect the beauty of our natural and most precious spaces!Our National Parks keep the wilderness of our country open and free. Long may they... more