Writer John Steinbeck called redwoods “ambassadors from another time,” while W.E.B. Du Bois described them as “eternal wooden stone with tremendous grip on earth.” We search for words to describe the majesty of the coast redwood and giant sequoia forests, …
The sword fern, one of the most common redwood forest plants, has become prominent in my life over the past few years. This is mostly due to the League’s Fern Watch project, which monitors the health of sword ferns throughout the redwood range. Even though these ferns are common, little is known about their ecology and how they respond to climatic change.
If you ask high school students what the impacts of climate change have been, they can tell you that the polar ice caps are melting, that we have extreme weather, and that California has been in a drought for the past few years. But if you ask them how climate change will affect our forests and the plants and animals that live in them, they find it harder to come up with an answer.
In a study published in the research journal Global Change Biology, climate scientists from the University of California and NatureServe conclude that a warmer future with normal rainfall on California’s coast will leave coast redwoods south of San Francisco Bay with significantly different climate than they have experienced for decades.
Recent League-funded research by Richard Dodd, an Environmental Science Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, confirms that northern groves (north of the Kings River drainage) have lower genetic diversity than central and southern groves. This could have profound consequences for long-term conservation strategies for the species, especially considering the changing global climate.