Trees Too Big to Hug, Small Enough to Cherish and Protect

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It is interesting how “one thing leads to another.”

In a tongue-in-cheek post here at TMV on New Year’s Day, I kidded a little bit about “tree huggers.”

A reader then, “speaking of hugging trees,” commented on those magnificent sequoia trees, reaching ages of upwards of 3,000 years.

The same morning I received from a friend — and posted in a comment — a photo from the Humboldt State University Library Special Collections, (below) from the 1915 era, taken by Swedish photographer A.W. Ericson and showing lumberjacks working among the redwoods in Humboldt County, California, when tree logging was at its peak.

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Doing a little more research, I came across a series of fascinating articles on and photographs of “tall trees” by professor Stephen C. Sillett, a scientist who studies the ecology of tall trees and the forests they create at the Department of Forestry and Wildland Resources at Humboldt State University (HSU). One of his photo tours explores the Sequoiadendron giganteum, the giant sequoia, confined to California’s Sierra Nevada, reaching heights of over 300 feet and ages up to 3200 years.

Fortunately, “[l]ess than one-third of the giant sequoias were logged, because the living trees were ultimately valued more highly than their wood, which is of relatively poor quality for building.”

Also fortunately, “the world’s tallest tree is hiding somewhere in California” according Robert Krulwich at NPR.org.

Krulwich tells us that the tree is 379 feet 4 inches tall and hidden deep in a section of Redwood National Park. This tree, called “Hyperion,” replaces 369 feet-high “Stratosphere Giant” (exact location in Humboldt Redwoods State Park unknown) as the tallest “known plant in the world.”

The aforementioned professor Sillett made it a hobby of his to find and climb the tallest trees. Among these, the 379 feet 4 inches tall Sequoia sempervirens.

I would post a photo of Stratosphere Giant, but it would take up two full, long pages. You can see it here. Below are some beautiful sequoias.

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A final “fortunately”:

During our recent travel to Australia, we visited the fabulous, brand-new National Arboretum in Canberra. This 620 acre park is home to over 90 ”forests” of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. Over 35,000 trees have been planted there, representing tree species from over 100 countries.

One of these species is — fortunately — the Sequoiadendron giganteum or Giant Sequoia.

One hundred of these trees have been planted at the Arboretum. Our guide told us that when we return in a couple of hundred years we may see some of them as tall as 150 feet. (Sequoias have been planted and are growing well in several other countries).

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Young Sequoiadendron giganteum being “groomed” for the future Down Under

I mentioned at the beginning “one thing leads to another.” I could have also said that all good things come in threes (or fours) because — “speaking of hugging trees” — this morning I received an e-mail from a great organization, the Jewish National Fund (Hebrew: Keren Kayemet LeYisrael, known as KKL-JNF). This organization, established in 1901, is dedicated to “developing the land of Israel, strengthening the bond between the Jewish people and its homeland.”

One of the ways they are helping achieve this is through the planting of over 240 million trees in Israel. If interested in planting a tree in Israel with your own hands or doing it on-line from home, please click here.

JNF recently received a Top 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s leading independent charity evaluator.

Lead Photo: Humboldt State University Library Special Collections

Photo Sequoia trees: www. shutterstock com

         

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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5 Comments

  1. It is really hard to see those trees and not be amazed, humbled, and happy at the same time. Its the mother nature equivalent to walking into a mighty cathedral. At least for me.

  2. @slamfu

    Agreed. I still remember when I was a young (and unenlightened) man, shopping for souvenirs in a small shop that had been carved out at the base of a massive, beautiful sequoia in the Redwood Forest(I might have even driven through one). Thinking back, what a stupid thing to do (both carving the shop out and giving it my business).

    I often wonder if that magnificent tree is still standing.

    Thanks, slamfu.

    (edited to delete the “garbage”)

  3. Neato! That is a great idea, OS. I need to look into that as it is getting close… Thanks!

  4. I like it much better than having the remains turned into a diamond or sent off into space…. :)

    Yet may we both have many many good years before we leaf out….

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