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When Tree Rings Become Music

What story does this gnarled tree in Fern Canyon at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park have hidden within?
What story does this gnarled tree in Fern Canyon at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park have hidden within?

All the elements combine to shape the trees we walk among every day. We see the result in glorious towering and sometimes twisting trees that curve and arc above us. Deep within the trunk and branches of every tree, wooded tree rings bear history to the tree’s unique story, small rings in lean years and wide rings in years of plenty.

Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative scientists are analyzing the tree rings of redwoods to understand the fingerprint of past climate. They seek to understand trees better using a microscope and focused scientific questions. Bartholomäus Traubeck seeks to understand trees in a different way, by translating their tree rings into music.

In his innovative  recording – Years – Traubeck makes audible the previously silent pattern of wood growth in Austrian trees including spruce, ash, walnut, beech, alder, maple, and oak. Each species’ song is as unique as the tree’s life story, I’m quite fond of the sound of spruce.

What stories and songs do the trees outside your window have hidden within?

 

 

 

 


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About Emily Burns

Emily joined Save the Redwoods League as the Director of Science in 2010 after studying redwood forest ecology for seven years.



What inspires you to be a redwoods champion? Photo by Julie Martin.

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“I spent ten days hiking and camping in several coast redwood forests…I was overwhelmed by the foresight and generosity of Rockefeller, Kent, and the League’s founders. Inspiring.” – Donald Cooley “I’m 100 years old. I’ve never seen the redwoods. When … Continued


California's state parks have so much to offer, yet are underutilized. Pictured is Humboldt Redwoods SP, where League supporters have protected 50,000 acres.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods

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Here at Save the Redwoods League, we get a kick out of celebrating Star Wars Day every May 4th (as in, “May the 4th be with you…”). Of the 460 planets that exist within the Star Wars films, where would you … Continued

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