Giant redwood trees are beautiful to look at and are great for the environment. We need them now more than ever before. The redwoods filter air, water while also removing tons of carbon due to their sheer size. These trees are so precious that scientists are trying to revive an ancestor of the modern redwoods.
Using saplings made from the basal sprouts of these super trees to plant new groves in temperate countries around the world means the growths have a better chance than most to become giants themselves. Their ancestors grew up to 400 ft (122 m) tall and to 35 ft in diameter, after all, larger than the largest living redwood today, a giant sequoia in California’s Sequoia National Park. Already, super saplings from the project are thriving in groves in Canada, England, Wales, France, New Zealand, and Australia. None of these locales are places where coastal redwoods grow naturally, but they all have cool temperatures and sufficient fog for the redwoods, which drink moisture from the air in summer rather than relying on rain. Milarch calls this “assisted migration.”
Organizations that care about protecting the environment are always looking for ways to get more people helping them out and in some cases consumer technologies are the solution. Save the Redwoods is an organization in California that is asking people to use their iPhones to identify where every redwood tree is in the state. The information will then be mapped out on Google Earth – a great way of showing people the current state of the redwood forests.
Find a redwood tree in a park, in your own backyard, or in a botanical garden anywhere in the world. Then use the free Redwood Watch iPhone application powered by iNaturalist or your own camera to take a photo of the tree and submit it online.
“Citizen-science efforts like iNaturalist are rapidly emerging as rich sources of biogeographic information for alerting scientists where plants and animals are disappearing and where they persist,” said Scott R. Loarie, co-director of iNaturalist.org and a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science. “These technologies are a real win-win for conservation because, in addition to generating urgently needed data, they get people outdoors and help them become more aware of the natural world.”
In collaboration with Google Earth Outreach, Redwood Watch also will include a tour and new 3D online model of the ancient forest to help people better understand, appreciate and connect with the wonder of the redwoods. A 2½-minute video, Finding the Redwood Forests of Tomorrow, tells the story of an ancient forest. The video was narrated by Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall. Save the Redwoods League partnered with Google Earth Outreach to produce the new 3D Trees model ofJedediah Smith Redwoods State Park on Google Earth. Jedediah Smith Redwoods was selected for this project because it is one of the most pristine old-growth coast redwood forests in California. The 3D model allows Google Earth users to virtually walk and fly through an ancient redwood forest anytime anywhere.