Forest Conservation and Restoration

Grove of Titans walkway around the giant, 2021

Grove of Titans

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California State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, National Park Service, and Redwood Parks Conservancy partner to protect and to improve visitor access to the Grove of Titans in Jedediah Smith Redwoods — one of the last remnants of old-growth coast redwood forest and home to some of the world’s largest coast redwoods.

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A long line of people wearing yellow, white, and blue construction hats walk through ferns past a large redwood tree stump. Photo by Max Forster

Put Californians back to work through conservation

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Redwoods restoration can integrate climate adaptation into economic recovery As Governor Newsom and California’s lawmakers grapple with how best to mitigate impacts of COVID-19 on our lives, health and the economy, the people of our state have voted with their Continued

Unofficial trails including this one in Redwood National and State Parks' Grove of Titans result in trampling that can harm roots of ancient trees. Photo by Claudia Voigt

Mitigating Effects of Unofficial Trails on Ancient Redwood Groves

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And now, because of internet and mobile technology, the locations of more and more of the tallest redwoods are becoming public knowledge, drawing more people to these giants. This often leads to people blazing their own trails either because the officially designated trail does not provide close access, or because there is no official trail to a specific tree or grove. These unofficial trails are called social trails. So, just how great is the impact of these unofficial trails? Learn more about this research.

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One year after decommissioning, native plants have grown on a former logging road at Headwaters Forest Reserve. Redwood seedlings were planted as part of the restoration. Photo by Humboldt State University.

Restoring the Forest to Benefit Wildlife, People, Climate

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Protecting the redwood forest isn’t just about preservation — it’s also about restoration. Save the Redwoods League helps restore habitat for wildlife that depends on ancient forests. With your gifts, we also speed development of tomorrow’s beautiful old-growth groves. These groves will help mitigate climate-changing greenhouse gases, and they’ll provide clean water for people and animals.

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Craig Ranch, the new gateway to these majestic giant sequoias on Case Mountain, will soon be open to the public, thanks to gifts from League members like you. Photo by Bob Wick

You Secured a New Gateway to Giants

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Gifts from League members like you recently helped protect a dramatically beautiful gateway to an extraordinary kingdom of ancient giant sequoias on Case Mountain.

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Hare Creek rushes past redwoods in Limekiln State Park. League donors’ support recently helped replace a bridge reconnecting the camping area to all of the park’s trails. © Russ Bishop, Alamy Stock Photo

Work Showcases Limekiln, a Big Sur Treasure

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Building upon our founders’ dream of protecting and enhancing redwood parks, the League is now engaged in a wide range of activities — from saving threatened redwood landscapes and restoring forests, to upgrading park amenities, expanding education and interpretative programs, and finding new ways to benefit parks and visitors. One such project is under way at Limekiln State Park.

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Building a Trail in Paradise

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You’re closer to discovering our remote Shady Dell forest, home of the candelabra-shaped redwoods. Construction of the 2.3-mile trail will begin on June 15, 2015! The trail will feature about 50 feet of boardwalk, 231 steps, 30 feet of bridge, six interpretive signs, benches and a parking area. Construction is tentatively scheduled for completion by summer 2016.

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High-severity treatments have boosted the growth of isolated giant sequoias in what is now Giant Sequoia National Monument. Photo by Rob York

Disturbances Benefit Giant Sequoias

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Being dwarfed by Earth’s most massive tree, the giant sequoia (aka “Sierra redwood”), fills you with wonder. It’s hard to believe that a living thing can be so enormous and old. It may be alarming to see these forests on fire, but research funded by your gifts shows that disturbances such as these actually are good for giant sequoias. Learn more about this research.

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In Mill Creek forest, tree removal experiments explored how to bring old-forest features (such as giant redwoods and diverse plants and animals) to young forests like this one as quickly as possible. Photo by Kevin L. O'Hara

Forest Restoration through Thinning

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For more than half a century, the Mill Creek region in Northern California produced lumber. After clear-cutting, too many seeds were planted, producing a forest in which too many young trees competed for light, water and other resources. Now, thanks to Save the Redwoods League, Mill Creek is protected as part of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and is becoming a laboratory for redwood forest restoration. Learn more about this research.

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Photo by cm195902, Flickr Creative Commons

Pre-Logged Northern Redwood Forests

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If you want to restore a logged-over redwood forest, how do you decide what should be there? In the past, land managers looked at the mix of species in nearby protected areas. But no one knew for sure whether they represented typical redwood forests—or just the ones with the most interesting or abundant redwoods. Learn more about this research.

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Growing New Giants Through Canopy Gaps

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It seems unfathomable that the tiny seedlings Rob York sowed among ash piles in a clearing at Whitaker’s Forest could someday grow to be among the largest creatures on earth. Yet these green specks grew into giant sequoias two years after seeds were strewn in canopy gaps. This species of titan tree has stagnated in regeneration efforts for nearly a century. York, along with his graduate advisor, John Battles, is working on unlocking the secrets to growing new giants. Learn more about this research.

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Fire is an example of a disturbance event that redwoods face.

Fires Were Common in Rainy Northern Forests

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For years, Steve Norman had been told that the humid forests of coastal Northern California must be too wet to burn. Scientists who research fire acknowledge its power as a tool for reshaping the landscape, but some areas were considered nearly immune to fire. This assumption meant that the damp forests of Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park remained a blank file in the coastal forest fire records. Learn more about this research.

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Study results showed that at better-watered sites (similar to this one in Humboldt County), redwoods were randomly distributed. Photo by Daniel Lofredo Rota, Flickr Creative Commons

Old Redwood Forest Restoration

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Old-growth redwood forests are prized for their biological and aesthetic riches. If you’re a land manager trying to restore lands where redwoods have been logged, the old-growth forest is the ideal to which you aspire. But how do you move toward old-growth characteristics most efficiently? Learn more about this research.

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In this logged forest, alders compete for dominance with Douglas-fir and redwoods. Redwoods here were stunted compared with their relatives in a untouched "old-growth" forest. Photo by Emily King Teraoka

Thinning Would Spur Old-Growth Qualities

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Upland forests in Redwood National Park have been studied extensively. But until a few years ago, less was known about streamside, or “riparian,” forests, which benefit the park’s salmon habitat by providing shade, erosion control and woody debris in the streams. So Humboldt State University graduate student Emily King Teraoka decided to compare two of the park’s riparian forests: one along Lost Man Creek, which had been clearcut between 1954 and 1962; and one along Little Lost Man Creek, which was mostly untouched. Learn more about this research.

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Mill Creek. Photo by Evan Johnson

Thinning Speeds Recovery to Old-Growth

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Dr. Christopher Keyes and Andrew Chittick have found that thinning—removing select trees in a second-growth coast redwood forest—speeds up the forest’s development of old-growth characteristics, which include tall and bulky trees, small gaps in the canopy through which sunlight can penetrate, trees of varying heights, thicker tree branches, understory shrubs and ferns, and healthy young saplings. Learn more about this research.

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Photo by  William K. Matthias

Land Use and Forest Conservation

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Dr. Sarah Marvin, professor of Geography at the University of Oregon, has set out to understand how the shape of the land and its use by owners reflect the probability of a privately owned coast redwood forest being protected. The two questions she has asked are: “Are privately owned forests more likely to be protected if they are on bigger parcels?” and “Do traditional, rural land uses as opposed to traditional, residential land uses promote forest preservation?” Answers to these questions might help predict the likelihood of future, private redwood forest protection and—of logged forests—regeneration. Learn more about this research.

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A League-funded project by Robert York and William Stewart of the University of California will contribute to the basic understanding of how giant sequoia forests like this one respond to disturbances such as fire. Photo by iriskh, Flickr Creative Commons

Balanced Management of Giant Sequoias

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Giant sequoias are sometimes simply referred to as “big trees” and with good reason: They are the largest trees by volume and among the largest living things on Earth. These massive trees do not function in a void; they are supported by an intricate network of natural processes that keep the ecosystem working properly. Learn more about this research.

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