Redwoods Photo Tour

Check out this amazing photo tour of the Redwoods from The Institute For Redwood Ecology at Humboldt State University:

Photo Tour: Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens

Champion Trees

A hobby of mine since I started climbing trees as a graduate student has been finding the tallest trees. There are many record-keepers among tree-lovers, and I do not profess to be the sole authority. Today on Earth there are only 5 tree species with living individuals known over 300 feet. I have climbed and measured the total height of the tallest live-topped individual of each of these species. As of 2009, these were Sequoia sempervirens (379 feet),Eucalyptus regnans (327 feet)Pseudotsuga menziesii (318 feet)Picea sitchensis (318 feet), and Sequoiadendron giganteum (311 feet). All but one of these (E. regnans) live in California.

North America now has 7 species with living individuals known over 262.5 feetSequoia sempervirens,Pseudotsuga menziesiiPicea sitchensisSequoiadendron giganteumAbies procera (287 feet)Abies grandis (267 feet), and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (266 feet). In 2008, the tallest living Pinus lambertiana (270 feet) died. Only Australia and Malaysia have more species this tall. According to Brett Mifsud, Australia now has at least 8 species over 80 meters (all Eucalyptus), and Malaysia has at least 7 (Koompassia excelsa and several Dipterocarpaceae). Further searching will no doubt reveal more super-tall tree species.

Tree Structure

A redwood tree grows tall in a forest if left undamaged. The lucky few escape injury and approach their maximum heights in 600 years or so, but most trees get damaged in storms from wind and falling neighbors, and the crowns of many old trees have burned in forest fires. A high resistance to both wood decay and fire bestows great longevity on redwood, and trees can survive for more than a millennium after experiencing severe and repeated damage. Here is a brief description of what I have learned about the growth of Sequoia sempervirens from climbing in old-growth forests since 1987.







Canopy Views

The beauty of old-growth redwood forests is easily appreciated, and I have been lucky to see these forests from vantages few others experience. Here Marie and I share some of our favorite photographs.