Redwoods Felled a Century Ago to Live On
Clones being replanted today in effort to fight climate change
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 22, 2013 1:13 PM CDT
This photo provided by Archangel Ancient Tree Archive shows an unidentified person standing beside a coastal redwood tree near Crescent City, Calif., that is among dozens the group has cloned.   (AP Photo/Courtesy Archangel Ancient Tree Archive)

(Newser) – A new weapon in the fight against climate change: 18-inch-tall redwood clones. The laboratory-produced trees are genetic duplicates of three giants that were cut down in northern California more than a century ago. Remarkably, shoots still emerge from the stumps, including one known as the Fieldbrook Stump, which measures 35 feet in diameter and is believed to be about 4,000 years old. The tree was about 40 stories high before it was felled.

"This is a first step toward mass production," says David Milarch, the co-founder of the nonprofit group spearheading the project, which is planting redwoods today (yep, it's Earth Day) in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and the US. The group has developed several methods of producing genetic copies from cuttings, including placing branch tips less than an inch long in baby food jars containing nutrients and hormones. In recent years, the focus has been on towering sequoias and redwoods, considered best suited to absorb massive volumes of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas primarily responsible for climate change. But just planting them isn't enough: 90% of trees planted on Arbor Day will die, explains Milarch. "You can't plant trees and walk away and expect them to take care of themselves."

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
mommy_of_samhain
Apr 22, 2013 11:28 PM CDT
I grew up in the Redwoods in Mendocino County in a little town called Willits. Every year the school would have an assembly where experts would come and talk to us about the Redwoods and conservation and trees and Smokey the Bear. They would give us each a little Redwood tree to take home and plant. Does anyone know if they still do that? I lived about eleven miles outside of town and I planted mine every year.
lvan
Apr 22, 2013 9:38 PM CDT
"You can't plant trees and walk away and expect them to take care of themselves." Why not? Nature does it. You think nature is better than us mr.bigshot?
clmsman
Apr 22, 2013 3:07 PM CDT
Seems a shame to cut down a tree that is 4000 years old a tree that just sprouted from the ground when the Great Pyrimid was being built. Its like when they kill those big blue fin tuna and weight a 1000 pounds or more and god know how long it took to get that big and there aren't any left now.