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Redwoods, a Simple, Sophisticated Solution to Climate Change

The redwood forest has become a popular destination for nature-lovers, however, our relationships with the tree species hasn’t always been one of awe and respect- there is a darker story as well.

Of the 2 million acres that once flourished in large groves all along the coast from Southern Oregon into Central California, only 4% of old growth forest remains.

The trees were most heavily cut after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Nearly half of the city’s 400,000 residents were left homeless, and lumber was desperately needed to rebuild.

While demands for lumber were temporarily satiated and the city was rebuilt, local redwood forests were all but destroyed. Many people don’t realize that Palo Alto literally translates to ‘tall tree’ in Spanish, because it is so far removed from its natural state. Today, only pockets of forest remain, and much of what we see is less than 100 years old.

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It turns out that redwoods forests can sequester more above-ground carbon than any other forest in the world, including the Amazon Rainforest! Our neighbors, the once-omnipresent redwood tree, are a simple, sophisticated, and natural solution to climate change.

Not only do these trees pull in large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, and they ‘store’ that carbon long after they fall on the forest floor. The tannins in their bark, that make them so wondrously red, is a chemical that makes the trees fire-retardant and rot resistant.

Here at Turtle Island Restoration Network, we decided to combine two narratives: their ability to sequester carbon dioxide, and their unique habitat value for our local ecosystems. We created the 10,000 redwoods project as a way to combat climate change while restoring critical coho salmon habitat.

A 100 year old redwood tree can sequester 26000 lbs. of carbon dioxide. That’s enough for an average American to offset an entire year’s worth of carbon footprint!

We need your help in joining our project, whether through planting redwoods with us during the winter, helping us maintain restoration sites during the summer, or by ‘adopting’ a redwood with us! Find out more at www.10000redwoods.org

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Resources:
“Redwood- About the Trees”. Redwood National and State Parks, National Park Service.
“San Francisco Earthquake, 1906”. The Center For Legislative Archives, National Archives.
“RCCI Forest Network.” Save the Redwoods League, Redwood and Climate Change Initiative (RCCI)
“CUFR Tree Carbon Calculator”. USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, the Urban Ecosystems and Processes Team.
MIT. “Carbon Footprint Of Best Conserving Americans Is Still Double Global Average”. Sciencedaily. April 29, 2008.

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