forest facts

Giant sequoia cones. Photo by Mark Bult

Finding Patterns in the Redwoods: It’s Easy as 1, 1, 2, 3…

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Nature’s patterns are everywhere.  Sometimes they’re obvious – we mammals, for instance, almost always have five fingers and five toes on each hand and foot.  Sometimes these patterns aren’t nearly so apparent, but they’re still there nonetheless. The Fibonacci sequence Continued

Bay Lights – 1.5 Redwoods Tall

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  Outside our office this week the San Francisco Bay Bridge began twinkling with the artistic illumination of 25,000 new LED lights strung along the west span.  After dusk, views of the bridge are spectacular as waves of light pulse along 1.8 Continued

Redwood burl. Photo by Peter Montesano

Exploring the Mysteries of Redwood Burls

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We’ve all seen them—those enormous growths from the trunks or bases of redwood trees, sometimes covered in new sprouts, sometimes appearing to drip down the side of the tree like the molten remnants of a lost limb.  These strange formations Continued

California Giant Salamander. Photo by William Leonard

Do salamanders bark in the woods?

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Every time I talk to a researcher who works in the redwood region, I learn something that makes my jaw drop. It happened again just a few days ago when I was speaking with Prof. David Wake of U.C. Berkeley. Continued

Coast redwoods on the UCI campus are not thriving.

Can redwoods thrive in Southern California climate?

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Redwoods do fine in Southern California, right? Researchers at UC Irvine are not totally convinced. In the 1980’s a scientist by the name of Ernest Ball cloned coast redwood giants from Northern California and reared test-tube redwoods. Many of these Continued

Megan Ferreira and I stand next to one of Yellowstone's remarkable petrified redwoods.

The Oldest Redwood I’ve Ever Seen

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I just returned from a New Year’s trip through Yellowstone National Park, where I hiked out to see one of the petrified redwoods still standing on the forest slopes of Wyoming. This ancient redwood has been through an amazing transformation—its Continued

Grove in Hendy Woods State Park.

Life on the Forest’s Edge

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It takes a long time to get to Hendy Woods State Park from San Francisco. It takes a while to get there from pretty much anywhere, but it’s worth it.  Approaching the park through the Anderson Valley wine country, the Continued

Giant sequoia branches covered in snow. Photo by garden beth, Flickr Creative Commons

Why are Christmas trees pointy on top?

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Why are Christmas trees shaped the way they are, pointy on top and wide at the bottom?  It’s because their growth is regulated by hormones.  One such hormone (called auxin) is produced at the growing tip of the treetop and Continued

Giant redwood crowns loom over a canopy of lesser trees (Picea sitchensis, Tsuga heterophylla) in JSRSP. Photo by Stephen Sillett

Cap-and-trade among the redwoods

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This was a big month in California. While the election may be the first thing that comes to mind, we also witnessed the first auction of carbon credits to companies that emit more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every Continued

Ants tending aphids on the underside of young leaves of Big Leaf Maple (Acer macrophyllum) in Del Norte County.

Feasting in the Redwood Forest

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No doubt, we have all experienced the joy of showing up to a thoughtfully prepared Thanksgiving feast with family and friends.  Surrounded by overflowing dishes of food, it is nearly impossible to go to bed hungry following a Thanksgiving meal. Continued

Redwood tree cores.

Cross-section of a redwood tree?

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Since I was a little girl, I’ve enjoyed standing next to the large cross-section of redwood trunk on display at the entrance of Muir Woods National Monument. It boggles my mind that this redwood started growing in the year 909 Continued

Banana slug.

Slug Truth is Stranger than Fiction

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Did you know that the coast redwood forest is home to the largest slug in North America and the second largest slug worldwide*?  Yep, our very own banana slug (Ariolimax columbianus) grows up to 8 inches in length and can Continued

Ageratina adenophora

They call it “forest killer”

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I just returned from a vacation in Nepal, a beautiful country boasting the tallest mountains in the world. For two weeks I trekked through the mountains, seeing stark snowscapes and yak-covered slopes in the northern high Himalayas and the lush Continued

Eel River. Photo by Howard King

Brown to Blue: The Eel River’s Dramatic Changes in Hue

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When the South Fork Eel River in Mendocino County turns blue during the winter, it is impossible not to wonder why the river changes color so much over the course of the year. With first fall rains, autumn leaves falling Continued

Coral fungus in the redwood forest.

There’s More Than Meets the Eye to Forest Fungi

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Did you know that winter rains cause fungi to reproduce in the redwood forest?  Mushrooms are the most visible parts of the fungal body and grow up out of the soil so that the wind will disperse their spores.  When Continued

Coast redwood boasting colorful fall leaves at Humboldt Redwoods State Park in August.

True colors are showing

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As summer rolls on every year, people always ask me with concern about why their redwoods have orange foliage. Is it a sign of drought? Is the redwood sick? Luckily for the redwoods, the answer to these questions is quite Continued

Scraping teeth of a bear left this young redwood missing bark.

Bear Breakfast No Picnic for Redwoods

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If you go out in the woods today You’re sure of a big surprise. If you go out in the woods today You’d better go in disguise For every bear that ever there was Will gather there for certain, because Continued

Giant sequoia snag.

Giant Sequoia Snags

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A giant sequoia can grow for more than 2,000 years and in that time easily earn its reputation for being one of the most massive trees on Earth. While the giant sequoia’s sheer size is certainly amazing enough, these giants Continued

Elk Clover. Photo by Keir Morse

A Healing Giant among Redwoods

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Meet a fascinating plant of redwood country: elk clover, also known as California spikenard (Aralia californica), is the only member of the ginseng family that is native to California.  It’s a perennial deciduous plant (meaning it sheds its leaves in Continued

Redwoods compete for sunlight.

The Olympic-like Competition among Redwoods

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There’s nothing quite like the image of five Olympic rings to remind me of good old competition! I love the excitement that builds up as the games begin, wondering who will reign supreme. Trees may not be aware of our Continued

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