Save the Redwoods League Climate Change Study Finds Recent Unprecedented Growth Surge in Redwoods, Plus Other Key Findings

Professor Stephen C. Sillett, PhD, studies the redwood canopy. He is among four scientists researching in the League's Initiative to help redwoods survive rapid climate change. Photo by Marie Antoine
Professor Stephen C. Sillett, PhD, studies the redwood canopy. He is among four scientists researching in the League’s Initiative to help redwoods survive rapid climate change. Photo by Marie Antoine

Media Contacts:
Donna Berry Glass
Landis Communications, Inc.

Tarah Beaven
Landis Communications, Inc.

Researchers also discover the oldest coast redwood on record today, at 2520 years old

Download the full Press Release PDF

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 14, 2013) — Save the Redwoods League, along with a team of renowned scientists, today announced initial findings from a multiyear study aimed at predicting how rapid global climate change will affect redwoods in old-growth forests over time. Following are the top three findings from the study:

  • Researchers find ancient redwood forests can store up to 3 times more carbon above ground than non-redwood forests worldwide
  • Changing environmental conditions have triggered a growth surge in coast redwoods and giant sequoias
  • California summers have warmed, but precipitation has remained highly variable and not decreased over recent decades

Scientists also developed a new tree ring record from ancient redwoods throughout California to support the study of how redwoods have been affected by severe droughts, fires and flooding in the past centuries.

The study, called the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative (RCCI), is a collaborative research program that began in 2009. It is led by Save the Redwoods League and top scientific researchers from UC Berkeley, Humboldt State University, the Marine Conservation Institute and other organizations to study past, present and future impacts of climate change on coast redwoods and giant sequoia forests. Save the Redwoods League is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting ancient redwood forests throughout their natural range.

“These results bolster our mission to protect redwoods because these trees are pulling incomparable amounts of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere which helps combat global warming,” said Emily Burns, Director of Science for Save the Redwoods League. “We have found ancient forests where climate conditions are accelerating growth and we predict these places will stay vibrant habitat refuges for other plants and animals in the foreseeable future.”

“There’s no question that our climate is changing. With this research, we have laid the foundation for understanding how we can be responsible caretakers for these magnificent forests in the years ahead,” said Harry Pollack, Chief Operating Officer for Save the Redwoods League. “We started this study because we can’t afford to wait. With only five percent of the world’s ancient redwood forests left, Save the Redwoods League needs to continue to lead conservation work as we’ve done for 95 years.”

Save the Redwoods League announced the first round of study results on August 14, 2013, during a day-long symposium at The David Brower Center in Berkeley by the top researchers involved in the study. These included Stephen Sillett, Allyson Carroll and Robert Van Pelt from Humboldt State University; Todd Dawson and Anthony Ambrose from UC Berkeley; and Healy Hamilton from the Marine Conservation Institute and Sound Science, LLC. Read the full Press Release.

Media Roundtable Video:


About Save the Redwoods League
For more than 95 years, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored ancient redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty that these wonders of the natural world will flourish. In 1850, there were nearly 2 million acres of ancient coast redwood forests in California. Today, less than 5 percent remains and faces threats from past logging, poorly planned development and global climate change. Since its founding in 1918, the League has completed the purchase of more than 189,000 acres of forestland. For more information, please visit, or to receive monthly email updates, sign up at

Editors, please note: For a limited selection of images, please visit our newsroom resources page. For more images or to schedule an interview with Save the Redwoods League and its scientists, please contact Donna Berry Glass at 415-561-0888/ or Tarah Beaven at 415-561-0888/

Tags: ,

Save the Redwoods League Earns National Recognition


SAN FRANCISCO, CA (July 31, 2013)—After an extensive evaluation, Save the Redwoods League has been awarded accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Save the Redwoods League is one of only 230—out of more than 1700—land trusts in the country to have earned this status. View and download the full press release.

Save the Redwoods League Announces Winners of the 2013 Know Wonder Photo Contest


SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 30, 2013) — Save the Redwoods League today revealed the three winners of its national photo contest in which 252 park enthusiasts entered their stunning images of the world’s tallest trees. View and download the full press release.