League plants 53,000 new trees at Alder Creek
For several hours on a sunny day in late May, crews worked their way up the south-facing hillsides on the heavily burned section of the League’s Alder Creek property. With various tools in their hands, and backpacks full of seedlings, they hurriedly planted what the organization hopes will eventually grow into a rich giant sequoia grove to replace the one lost in the 2020 Castle Fire. That fire, swept over this northern section of the property with such high severity that it killed dozens of ancient giant sequoias, and further, destroyed the seeds that typically would lay the foundation for future trees.
The ground was still muddy from the recent snow, perfect for getting the seedlings in the ground. In total, the crew planted about 53,000 seedlings, about 30,000 of which were giant sequoias. The goal is to encourage the type of mixed conifer forest that occurs naturally on this landscape. Included in this planting are two specific scientific studies that will inform researchers about how location, soil, and other factors lead to better growth.
Replanting a giant sequoia grove is unusual, but these are unusual times for the giant sequoias. High-severity wildfire conditions killed an unprecedented number of mature giant sequoias in 2020-2021, nearly 20% of the largest, oldest trees. The loss of the seed bank at Alder Creek meant that the forest here cannot regenerate on its own.