Research

Introduction

Two hundred years ago, there were at least ten times as many redwoods living in the Bay Area as there are today. These trees play a vital role in their ecosystems, providing numerous benefits for local plants and animals while removing massive amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere [1].

Big Basin Redwood Forest

Greenhouse gas levels and global temperatures are at record highs[2][3] – and with increasingly severe consequences for millions of people[4][5] it is imperative that we do everything we can to return the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere to a safe and healthy level as quickly as possible. Carbon sequestration through rapid reforestation will play a crucial role in the solution to global warming, and no single other tree species is as capable of carbon sequestration as the redwood. [6]

Why Redwoods?

Branch Out has chosen to plant redwoods in the Bay Area for three main reasons:

1. Redwood trees are not just incredible at storing carbon dioxide and removing it from the atmosphere, they’re the best on the planet.[6] As the tallest, largest, and longest living trees in the world, they also grow quickly under the right conditions and continue to grow as long as they live – all of which ensures the highest possible degree of carbon sequestration. [1][7]

2. Redwoods are native to the Bay Area, and restoring them in their original habitat will play a vital role in recovering from the environmental damage which has taken place here over the last few hundred years due to extensive mining, logging, and other harmful practices.

3.  Redwoods play a crucial and beneficial role in their ecosystems, providing shelter, habitat, and  improved soil health for many forms of life, including at-risk species like the Spotted Owl. Redwoods also improve their local water cycle’s efficiency by absorbing water from fog in the air, which is especially important in the midst of climate change and California’s ongoing drought.[7]

Conclusion

Unfortunately, deforestation is in no way just a thing of the past. It continues at a rapid pace today and is one of the main causes of global warming, by some estimates accounting for as much as 25% of GHG emissions.[8] Deforestation is also an ongoing crisis in California, where 66 million trees have perished since 2010, largely due to the effects of climate change.[9] This makes it all the more crucial that we plant a lot more trees, as quickly as possible.

Redwoods are perfect for this task because of their natural, built-in resistance to both fire and drought. Redwoods are thus true champions when it comes to withstanding the adverse effects of climate change, as well as slowing down these effects and reversing them. The need to plant redwood trees has never been greater – will you join us in this effort?

Works Cited:

[1] Carbon Storage, CA Department of Parks and Recreation

[2] This August was the hottest one on record, The Verge

[3] We Just Breached the 410 Parts Per Million Threshold, Climate Central

[4] Flooding in China (28 July 2016), Relief Web

[5] Legal limbo awaits millions of ‘climate refugees,’ Associated Press

[6] Majestic Redwood Forests are also Amazing Fighters Against Global Warming, Washington Post

[7] Redwood Champions Amid Drought and Climate Change, Sempervirens Fund

[8] Deforestation causes global warming, FAONewsroom

[9] Coral With Leaves: Millions of Trees Joining the List of Climate Change Casualties, Inside Climate News