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Students collect data on sword ferns as part of our citizen science program Fern Watch.

Citizen Scientists Take Over

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Last week, I participated in the first-ever citizen science conference put on by the Citizen Science Association. This major event attracted over 600 people from 26 different countries! Science buzz was in the air, and the talks covered a range … Continued

Redwood Weather

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  RCCI researcher Wendy Baxter describes below why we are tracking weather in the woods: Monitoring the local weather and long-term climate is an integral part of the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative (RCCI). Beginning in 2011, scientists from UC … Continued

Fern Watch Heating Up

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I’ve been keeping a close watch on Western sword fern, the most common plant in redwood forest, for about a decade now and it appears that the recent weather is taking its toll on the ferns. Through our climate change tracking project, Fern Watch, we … Continued

Small salamanders are having a big impact. Photo by Anthony Ambrose

Salamanders in the News

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It’s not often that salamanders make the New York Times.  But last week, the ‘Science’ section featured an article on a study investigating the role of salamanders in the global carbon cycle. Basically, salamanders are among the top predators in … Continued

Bringing Back the Big Trees

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A recent discovery has been making headlines around the world: Trees don’t grow more slowly as they get older as was previously assumed. Rather, the older the tree, the faster it bulks up! This rapid growth in old age is … Continued

Students measure fern fronds through a Save the Redwoods League education program at Redwood Regional Park. Photo ©Save the Redwoods League.

Our Redwood Classrooms

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Bay Area residents got a sneak peek into the hopes and dreams of the Department of the Interior last week when Secretary Sally Jewell came to Crissy Field (external link) to announce the department’s new campaign to connect the next … Continued

Climate Change Discoveries Make Media Splash

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You may have heard about the surprising discoveries of the League’s Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative (RCCI) program, which drew unprecedented media coverage yesterday. Did you see the coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, the … Continued

A Summer of Ferns

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The best part of the year for any field ecologist like myself, is the stretch of long summer days spent outside collecting data. Over the past two months, I journeyed into the coast redwood forest to take measurements in our … Continued

Ancient Forest Discovered – Underwater!

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Depending on whom you believe, the ancient and legendary city of Atlantis was forever lost beneath the waves after a volcano, war, or dust-up between the gods, and its disappearance gave rise to centuries of speculation, storytelling, and exploration.  If … Continued

Share and Share Alike

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In an early version of a now-famous passage, John Muir wrote, “When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the … Continued

Vineyard conversion has become an increasingly significant threat to redwood forests in recent years.

Vineyards, Redwoods, and Climate Change

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The direct effects of climate change come in many different flavors – shifts in temperature and precipitation will have significant, though yet undetermined, implications for the redwood forest.  The ways in which climate change might indirectly affect the redwoods make … Continued

Researcher Wendy Baxter climbs a fixed rope up into a 86.6m-tall giant sequoia tree at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Photo by Anthony Ambrose

Barking up the Right Tree

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It’s summertime and redwood researchers are putting on their climbing gear and ascending  into the leafy crowns of giant sequoias. A slow climb is worth the effort to see how the giants are growing. But why climb hundreds of feet … Continued

Researcher Emily Burns noticed that half the ferns in coast redwood forests were evergreen and half were deciduous. Deciduous ferns turn white in the fall while the evergreen ferns stay vibrant green.

Deciduous Ferns May Hold Advantage as Climate Changes

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In 2010, funded by Save the Redwoods League and the National Science Foundation, Professor Jarmila Pittermann and Burns began a study comparing the leaves of evergreen and deciduous ferns. Interested in their response to drought, they chose midsummer, just before the deciduous ferns would shed their leaves, in the drier southern part of coast redwoods’ range (in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Big Sur). They expected that evergreen leaves, which are thicker, would show fewer signs of water stress. Learn more about this research.

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Researchers sampled coast redwoods' DNA at the Russell Research Station in Contra Costa County, California. Photo by Richard S. Dodd

Central California Redwoods More Vulnerable

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Researchers found in a 2007 study that coast redwoods’ genetic diversity was “very high” throughout the state, and more divergent in Central California. These Central California redwoods are most threatened by climate change and “should be a conservation priority,” said Richard S. Dodd, a professor of plant population genetics at the University of California, Berkeley. Learn more about this research.

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