Saturday, April 15, 2017


After not being able to see the Giant Sequoias due to snow road closures in the mountains, we were excited to see the giant redwood trees in the Redwoods National Park and California State Parks.  The ranger said there was one that was 24 feet in diameter, but that was at a different area inaccessible to us with our camper.  So, we only got to see these small trees :-)  Remember, that's a fully grown Berkshire Mountain Poodle!

Here I am giving this redwood a bear hug.  It sounds corny, but the tree kinda spoke to me.

We came across one trail were they were doing a restoration project.  There was a former logging road, and in 1995, they restored the road.  Apparently when left, logging roads typically lead to erosion and hillside failure, then the trees fall.  So, they remediate by using an excavator to resurface and then they replanted.
Here's what the road looks like now...a nice small hiking trail in the woods.

We wanted to try to give you an idea of just how big these trees are, but these pictures just don't capture the scale or the grandeur of it.

According to the USDA, one redwood stand in Humbolt State Park in CA provided the greatest biomass ever recorded with a stem biomass of 1,544 tons per acre.  There's a lot of life here.

That's me at the base of this one, and you can't see the top.

That's another picture of me in the bottom middle.

A lot of folks get confused.  Sequoias are the biggest trees, by volume, but redwoods are the tallest trees in the world.  According to the Redwood Visitor Guide, Giant Sequoia, Coast Redwood, and Dawn Redwoods are all in the same Redwood family.  The Dawn Redwood is an oriental species.

Giant Sequoia:  Grows to 314 feet, diameter DBH 30 feet, Age to more than 3,000 years old
Coast Redwood:  Grows to 379 feet, diameter DBH 26 feet, Age to more than 2,000 years.

The redwood habitat is this 450 mile long x 5 - 35 mile wide zone right along the Pacific coast where there's moderate to heavy rain and fog year-round (up to 122 inches precipitation a year).  The USDA says that apparently, the summer fog seems to be more important in delineating the habitat than the precipitation.  There's less than 200,000 acres of old growth Redwood left, about a tenth of what was originally here.

I don't remember the exact details, but I read an article once discussing how these trees are able to be so large.  Apparently, the nutrient base of the area is insufficient to provide the nutrients these giants need to grow to these sizes.  Scientists were able to take samples from the trees and look at the phosphorous and other nutrients that make up the cells.  By determining the isotope of phosphorous, they realized that that particular isotope only came from marine sources.  They were able to piece together the puzzle that salmon feed in the ocean, where they take up this phosphorous through the food web.  Then they swim upstream, returning to the stream they were born in to spawn.  Many of them are harvested by bears and other critters, and through the bears' waste and the fish carcasses, and hundreds and thousands of years, the nutrients enter the forest soils for uptake by the trees.

Now, the number of salmon migrating is about 10% or less of historic levels, so scientists speculate that there is no way for these amazing giant forests to be recreated.  Wish I could give you the link to that article, so you get the correct details :-(

Anyhow... WOW.  

1 comment:

  1. I read a book on redwoods recently that says the size is due to the phosphorus from salmon, the huge amounts of rain/fog that fall in the area, and competition for light over time.