Skip to main content

Burl Thieves Attack Redwoods

A ranger stands near a grand coast redwood that lost its burl to poachers this week at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Marshall Neeck.
A ranger stands near a damaged coast redwood that lost its burl to poachers this week at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Marshall Neeck.

Last year, I saw a man ride a bicycle down the road from Ladybird  Johnson Grove in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park carrying a large chainsaw. I was baffled at the sight and now realize just how terrible an omen this was.

It’s hard to imagine how anyone could enter the cathedral-like groves at Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) and steal wood from an ancient and spectacular redwood. Unfortunately, we are forced to imagine it because burl poaching is happening in our parks.

Last month, a 300-year-old redwood was cut down at RNSP so that the thieves could cut off a burl that was growing 5o feet up on the tall redwood’s trunk. Again this week, an old redwood was attacked and this time the base of the large redwood was deeply cut to remove the burl wood near the Tall Trees Trail along Redwood Creek at RNSP.

Apparently, there is still a market for  marbled burl wood which is used to create a variety of wooden products. The act of cutting burls off a redwood damages the tree by weakening the trunk base, making it vulnerable to disease and rot, and reducing its ability to reproduce by basal sprouts.

We can use DNA sequencing to trace burl wood to the source tree, so consumers of burl products should think twice before supporting this industry that may be using illegally obtained wood.  Please help us catch the thieves and contact Redwood National and State Parks at (707) 465-7335 if you have information about this recent crime.


Tags: , , ,


About Emily Burns

Avatar

Emily Burns, the League’s former Director of Science, led the research program that includes the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative. She holds a PhD in Integrative Biology on the impacts of fog on coast redwood forest flora from the University of California, Berkeley.



Free Parent's Guide to the Coast Redwoods

Explore, Dream, Discover – Introducing the Parent’s Guide to the Coast Redwoods!

on

With Memorial Day, school vacations, and summer travel just around the corner, we’re thrilled here at the League to introduce the first ever Parent’s Guide to the Coast Redwoods! Not just for parents, of course, the guide is a valuable … Continued


In vitro culture of Aulacomnium turgidum regenerated from emergent Little Ice Age population beneath the Tear Drop Glacier, Sverdrup Pass, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. Credit: Image courtesy of Catherine La Farge

The Toughest Plants in the World

on

It’s not often that I hear about a creature more resilient than redwoods.  After all, they grow faster, live longer, and reproduce more prolifically than just about any other tree.  Be that as it may, some very small, unassuming creatures … Continued


11 Responses to “Burl Thieves Attack Redwoods”

  1. Avatar

    Onil

    Redwoods are bad

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    pamela

    What is the wood used for? Furniture by any chance? And If I sent pictures of some furniture that this man has for sale could anyone tell if that’s the wood?

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    Joyce

    I believe that the poachers and also the buyers should be prosecuted. If there are no buyers there will be no profit for the poachers therefore they are equally guilty. I grew up surrounded by redwood trees which aren’t there anymore due to logging and truly believe in protecting those still remaining. It make me sick to see what these poachers are doing to our beautiful forests and maybe an eye for an eye rule should prevail when they are caught.

    Reply
  4. Avatar

    Mark

    When the perpetrators are apprehended, it would be appropriate to nail them to a tree.

    Reply
  5. Avatar

    T Clark

    It isn’t about funding, it is about teaching people right from wrong. All of the money in word cannot compensate for the lack of ethics or values. Look at our government now, more $$$ than ever and still incompetent. The corrective action starts in your home with your children.

    Reply
  6. Avatar

    Kelly

    Can anything be done to help the tree after this has been done? 🙁 That’s a pretty big hunk, but I know big trees can be pretty resilient, too.

    Reply
  7. Avatar

    johanna

    Can you install a few cameras?
    Start Redwood Watch?
    A reward for evidence/eye witness leading to capture?
    Who sells burl? Use that DNA. Catch that guy.

    Reply
  8. Avatar

    Luke

    This is what happens when you don’t properly fund your state and national parks.

    Reply
  9. Avatar

    Emily Burns

    Thanks Gale, the redwoods are lucky to have you watching out for them! Hopefully, we won’t see this type of crime happen again.

    Reply
  10. Avatar

    Gale Steelman

    I hope they catch him. It is obvious that he is pretty greedy by the hunk he took. That’s a huge hunk out of the forest’s future. This is one “local” that will keep her eyes peeled!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Join our newsletter
Get the latest redwood updates in your inbox
   Please leave this field empty
Top