SEQUOIA TREES–Tall, Ancient and 2,000 years old


Sequoia trees are found in only one place in the world — Sequoia National Park in the high Sierras of California.  Here, there are giant sequoias, bristlecone pines and redwoods.  One famous sequoia tree is named after General Sherman.  It is the world’s largest tree by volume.  In the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, there are 65 to 70 groves of sequoias. On the west side of the mountain range, these groves are in a narrow 70-mile band of the range at 5,000 to 8,000 feet.

These trees face a future in question.  Why?   They are not built to withstand decades of dry weather or droughts. Although the sequoias are not in immediate risk, despite California’s drought season of 2014, scientists say that even the oldest trees cannot survive if the dry weather persists.

Big trees are threatened by climate change.  According to the New York Times, August 12, 2014, “sequioias are resilient.  They have  no disease or serious insect enemies, and their spongy bar, eight inches thick, is highly resistent to fires. One can lose 95 percent of its crown in a fire and recover.  Still, no one knows what the climate future holds.”

Bristlecone pine trees — some of this species are as old as 4,000 years old — have adapted to some very harsh conditions.  However, there are reports of a fungus disease in the warming mountain ranges in Colorado and New Mexico.   In a test lab in Oregon, scientists are collecting seeds from bristlecone pine trees that appear resistant to blister rust. Then, the biologists inoculate the seed growth with a fungal disease to measure the bristlecone pine’s resistance to disease.  If they survive, they will be planted as part of a new blistlecone forest amongst old trees.




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