President’s letter: If we make the right choices and investments today, the redwoods can help save us

Spring-Summer 2023 Edition of Redwoods magazine

We’re on the road to make redwoods a significant part of the climate-change solution. Photo by Jon Parmentier

Dear Save the Redwoods League Friends,

When I walk in places like Humboldt Redwoods State Park and the League’s Alder Creek property, I see magnificent, towering coast redwoods and giant sequoias that tell a story of hope and resilience. We tell that story in this edition of Redwoods, spotlighting what we’ve learned from the groundbreaking Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative launched in 2009. The more we learn about the redwood and giant sequoia forests, the clearer it is how significant their role could be in the climate-change solution. That is, if we act quickly and make the right investments now. We have learned that young coast redwood forests—the forest type that dominates 1.5 million acres in California today—can pack more carbon out of our atmosphere per acre than any other forest type in the world if they are protected at scale and stewarded to grow to maturity. We have learned that these ancient forest ecosystems are extraordinarily resilient to drought and fire if they are protected at scale and stewarded to grow to maturity. We have learned that the biodiversity of these forests and the critical habitat they provide for endangered species such as salmon and marbled murrelet are significant if the forests are protected at scale and stewarded to grow to maturity. Our scientific research is intended to inform our broad community of partners and stakeholders of how to make better decisions and be better redwood forest stewards. This edition will highlight that research and share how the League is taking these lessons into the field in projects such as Redwoods Rising, Lost Coast Redwoods, and other parts of our landscape-scale conservation vision.

This story also is playing out right now among the giant sequoias of the Sierra Nevada, where the League and our partners in the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition are working hard to save these groves from catastrophic wildfires that have already killed nearly 20% of the world’s oldest, largest trees since 2015. As you’ll read, the coalition is gaining momentum, exceeding its goals for forest treatment and replanting. How we rally around this iconic species in this existential moment will be a critical model for broader efforts to adapt our forest and natural resources stewardship in a time of changing climate.

While a deep connection with the intrinsic value of the redwoods has always driven our work, you can see elements of the climate fight in other updates, such as the lasting protection of Red Hill and Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve. And of course, in Redwoods Rising, where the League, California State Parks, and the National Park Service are turning thousands of acres of damaged forest in Redwood National and State Parks into a beautiful, resilient, biodiverse, and mature carbon storage machine that will benefit all of humankind.

Many have described the latest United Nations report on climate change as bleak, a harsh warning that might leave some without hope. But, like so many of us, I see hope in nature and in the redwoods. We have spent the last 105 years saving the redwood forest, only to learn that if we make the right choices and investments today, the redwoods can help save us.


Sam Hodder
President and CEO
Save the Redwoods League


Read more highlights from the Spring-Summer 2023 Edition online.

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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