Top 5 Fascinating Redwoods Facts

Here at the League, we love learning about the forest! Photo of RCCI researcher collecting data, by Steve Sillett.
Here at the League, we love learning about the forest! Photo of RCCI researcher collecting data by Steve Sillett.

It’s National Environmental Education Week! This week is a celebration of environmental education and a special time to inspire learning and stewardship among students. I can’t say enough about how important outdoor education is to complete the circle of land conservation!

But learning is lifelong, so this week I’m sharing my top five favorite facts about the redwoods.

5. This fact is “old” news, but that doesn’t make it any less amazing: redwoods can live to be more than 2,000 years old, and some redwoods living today were alive during the time of the Roman Empire! The oldest-known redwood is 2,520 years old, and was discovered fairly recently through the League’s Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative research program.

4. The old-growth redwood canopy is home to a complex community of animals, plants and lichens living hundreds of feet in the air. The wandering salamander is one of those species and it can live its whole life in a single tree. League RCCI scientists are among the first to explore the redwood canopy – stay tuned as we keep learning!

3. Redwood forests are superlative at sequestering, or storing, carbon – they hold at least three times more carbon aboveground than any other forest in the world.

2. Our national park system is a model for parks systems around the world – and it all began in 1872 with a park to protect the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias, marking the first time land was set aside for preservation and public enjoyment.

1. The fight to save the redwoods inspired the conservation movement and the state parks system in California.

One of the wonderful things about the redwood forest is that with its rich, fascinating history and ecology, there is always more by which to learn and be inspired.

What are your favorite facts about the forest? Share them below!

About the author

President and Chief Enthusiast for the Outdoors (CEO) of Save the Redwoods League, Sam brings more than 25 years of experience in overseeing land conservation programs from the remote wilderness to the inner city.

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5 Responses to “Top 5 Fascinating Redwoods Facts”

  1. Loretta Bodiford

    (I am a life member of SRL) – my husband and I have a different opinion on growth of both kinds of Redwood. He believes the lower limbs drop off as the tree grows and I am of the opinion that usually those limbs grow up and out along with the rest of the tree. We have a species of Coastal Redwood in our yard. He wants to remove the lower limbs. It is about 18 feet tall. I want them to stay. Your info and advice, please?

    • Save the Redwoods League

      Thank you for the comment Loretta! Typically lower redwood branches fall off once they get heavily shaded by the growth and development by the upper canopy above them. Occasionally, branches become what we call “limbs” that give rise to secondary trunks called reiterations. This doesn’t happen often in young trees and is most likely to happen in older forests where damage is more likely to occur and the reiteration develops in response. In a suburban setting, a decision to remove lower branches is often driven by needs to reduce ladder fuels and that shouldn’t compromise the health of the tree. I hope this information helps!

  2. eks

    i love redwoods and want to save them. Did you know that the biggest redwood danger or threat is humans? That’s sad.

  3. Dane

    Some of my favorite facts:

    Redwoods (Giant Sequoias and Coast Redwoods) are the largest living things on the planet. They are also some of the fastest growing trees. I am growing a coast redwood from seed and in just over 1 year it’s 5 feet tall!


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