Giant Sequoia Project

Giant Sequoia Preservation Project

Protecting ancient treasures one tree at a time

Giant sequoia trees have a natural defense against forest fires thanks to thick, fire-resistant bark at the lower part of their trunks. However, encroaching vegetation, typically fir trees, can act as a fire ladder bringing the flames of a fire to the sequoias canopy where the natural defenses are less effective. These encroaching trees all compete with the sequoias for essential ground water.
In 2011, on a private lot in central California, a small preservation project was started. An ancient sequoia tree was being shadowed and crowded by tall fir trees. After climbing and inspecting the crown of the giant sequoia, it was observed that the fir tree was growing through the giant sequoia and causing die back and damage to the giant sequoia. It was also observed that, if a forest fire were to happen, the large firs would enable the flames to reach the canopy of the sequoias where they are most vulnerable. 
John Gathright, a professor of Bioagricultural Science and founder of the Japan Arborist Association and Arborist Training Institute of Japan, brought a group of arborist graduates to start a preservation project to help the ancient tree.

The Japanese have a long history of forestry and deep religious and cultural respect for trees. The young arborists not only brought their newly obtained arborist skills, but deep and ancient traditions of showing respect for the trees through Shinto beliefs.

The project was a great success, in that no damage was done to any ancient sequoia trees or their roots, and the following year showed new growth in their canopies, even while other sequoia trees were exhibiting stress and stunted growth due to drought.

Since that first Giant Sequoia Tree Project the team has been successful in helping to preserve a number of ancient giant sequoia Trees. 
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