Redwood trees may thrive on global warming

August 14, 2013

redwoodCalifornia’s famous old-growth redwood trees may be benefiting from global warming. (San Jose Mercury News)

That’s the assessment of scientists and researchers who have been carefully monitoring the giant conifers to determine if climate change is having a negative impact on their growth. So far, the evidence is that tree health and growth rates are actually improving.

Steve Sillett, a forestry professor at Humboldt State, told reporters that he and other researchers have seen no evidence of declining growth.

“In fact, a lot of the sites are exhibiting increasing rates of growth over the last 100 years,” he said — 45 percent since the 1970s.

Warmer temperatures, additional sunlight, and higher levels of carbon dioxide may be helping the situation, said Sillett.

However, a decrease in the amount of fog in the region — a 33 percent decline over the past 100 years — may be problematic. But Sillett said those concerns, too, might be premature: less fog means more sunlight.


16 Comments

  1. Rambunctious says:

    “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” — Ronald Reagan, 1981

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  2. jimmy_me says:

    A classic rite of passage for campers is to pitch a tent under a redwood when it is foggy. I was under the impression the trees created their own rain. If the trees could live off of CO2 alone, everything would be great. But, they need water. Drought conditions and less fog are not good signs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  3. tomsquawk says:

    there is no doubt that we are spewing stuff into our atmosphere. there is no doubt that we will do somethin in Cali………how about the rest of the world? btw, this conversation has been going on since, at least, the 60′s

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  4. r0y says:

    Doesn’t most plant life thrive in carbon dioxide rich environments? I was once taught that the earth was very rich in CO2, and oxygen was the “pollution gas” of the day. Until those sneaky ocean algae came along and transformed the atmosphere.

    Then again, that was in a science class, and those change about every 10 years or so from “this is fact, and is not debatable” to “the new theory is now…”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  5. racket says:

    Must … supress … this … info.

    This does not fit our agenda of shrill cries that the sky is falling.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 6

    • hijinks says:

      Did you actually read the linked article and think about it, or do you just knee-jerk your responses? The article, and accompanying video, tell a very different story from the excerpt above. The researchers state they are very concerned whether the redwoods and the giant sequoias can survive climate change. As the climate warms and dries up, these fine trees are in great danger — nobody knows how much, yet, or how soon. But, if you know redwoods, you know they have a very narrow range, down from a much larger historic range. The coast just north of SLO county is the southern end of that range. Here’s what the article says about the redwoods nearest to SLO county:

      “Recent modeling by researchers at the California Academy of Sciences shows that if carbon dioxide continues to build in the atmosphere at the current rate — up 30 percent since the mid-1800s because of the burning of fossil fuels — temperatures, rainfall and fog levels at the southern end of the redwood range in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties will become unsuitable to support redwoods by 2100.”

      Yes, indeed, your type would certainly want to suppress that info.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

      • r0y says:

        …and how did they accurately measure CO2 levels in the mid 1800′s?

        Yeah, that’s what I thought. They theorize based on tree rings? How about those CO2 levels millions of years ago? What about those?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Citizen says:

    The problem for our redwood forests is clear cutting. Redwoods are being clear cut with the stumps pulled out of the ground for more corporate vineyards. Small mammals are displaced or shot by vineyard owners, and drug cartels are busy dumping fertilizers in our creeks and rivers while maintaining pot grows. Google “clear cutting redwood forests” for more info.

    If the trees and forests are destroyed, the result will not be good for humans and preventing global warming.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 13

    • r0y says:

      I did google that, as your suggested. I got this:
      “Clearcutting is also common in Redwood Forests (60-80 year returns), partially because selective cutting of these very tall trees at high densities can result in high tree mortality due to windfall, and partially because redwoods regenerate promptly from stump sprouts, making clearcuts economically efficient.” from some PhD in Humbolt. Go figure.

      The only other mention was a bunch of petition-like websites, all mimicing each other (no difference in content). It ultimately led me to the Artesa Sonoma Winery that claim that only two (2) old-growth Redwood trees are on the 324-acre property, and they are being preserved. I’ll give the activists the benefit of the doubt and assume there is new-growth that will be clear-cut. Not old-growth, which is what we were discussing.

      You’re welcome… and thanks for encouraging people to look into your point for themselves! It was very informative.

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