The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always…The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.
— John Steinbeck
Due to overharvesting, only five percent of the original old-growth coast redwood trees remain, and they are listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The loss of coastal redwoods in California also impacts critically endangered coho salmon and other species.
Coast Redwoods Have Many Ecological Benefits
- Redwood trees are evergreen, providing year-round shade to creeks that keeps the water cold, critical to survival of salmon.
- Redwood trees capture summer fog providing moisture to other plants and animals during the dry (no-rain season)
- Slow rainfall transfer to creeks decreasing mortality of juvenile salmon from large storm events
- Stabilizes creek banks, reducing erosion
- Downed trees along creeks provide “large woody debris” creating instream refuge for salmon from predators and high velocity flows
- Improves water quality by creating self-sustaining riparian and floodplain plant communities
Redwoods: Critical in the Fight against Climate Change
The fact that redwoods are fast growing, massive, long-lived, rot resistant, easy to cultivate, and awe-inspiring, make them the ideal icon for action on climate change.
- Redwood trees store more carbon per hectare than any other tree on Earth.
- Coastal redwood trees sequester triple the above ground carbon of any other type of tree, making them a key player in mitigating climate change.
- We know carbon is stored in redwood trunks, but amazingly soils and roots store even more!