By: Rubina Obaid

Young redwood forests can accumulate biomass at rates even faster than old-growth stands, with trees surpassing 200 feet tall in less than a century. The research shows that investing in redwoods restoration, in particular, helping to set second-growth forests on the trajectory to old-growth characteristics would have tangible carbon benefits.

Role of redwood forests in climate neutrality is pivotal as it continues the conservation legacy of massive carbon sequestration in old growth trees. It is considered as one of the rarest eco system on our planet, that is encompassed on 48000 acres. According to the latest research conducted by Humboldt State University and Save the Redwood League revealed the exceptionally important role of Redwood forests in addressing climate change problems and concluded that old growth redwood forests store more carbon per acre than any other forests type. The property contains hundreds of huge ancient sequoia, majority of them having diameter of six feet or larger, also including Stagg Tree which is known as fifth largest tree in the world. The study also revealed that younger second growth coast redwood forests grow quickly and resulting in substantial carbon storage in sufficiently short period of time.

Redwood League is working to protect and restore the forests and took initiative of conducting research in collaboration with Humboldt University in 2009 and team of scientists studied Redwood forests for 11 years thoroughly, their geographic ranges and the growth rates of previously logged forests. The study helped them in identifying the region that has highest potential to recover their stature quickly in harvested forests especially where environmental and climatic conditions limit growth. After the research management goals are developed for redwoods in terms of tree height, biomass, carbon storage, wood production and biological diversity.

The result of the studies greatly helped in understanding the carbon storage capacity of the Redwood forests and their high rates of productivity for over 1000 years. Recent findings of the studies were also published in latest edition of Forest Ecology and Management. The researching team climbed and measured around 114 redwood trees ranging from 59 feet to 380 feet tall and from 115 to 2,340 years old. Steve Sillett, lead author of the studies said that “Just as exciting is the fact that young redwood forests can accumulate biomass at rates even faster than old-growth stands, with trees surpassing 200 feet tall in less than a century. Our research shows that investing in redwoods restoration in particular helping to set second growth forests on the trajectory to old growth characteristics would have tangible carbon benefits.

The results of RCCI provided greater help to the policymakers in California and all over the world to explore greater potential of a natural solutions for carbon sequestration and climate change crisis. Redwood forests are important ally in devising the climate neutrality strategy in California and accelerating the pace of extended efforts for the protection and restoration of young forests. Previously, California had 2 million acres of ancient redwoods but after industrial logging, 113000 acres of forests remained. According to the research team 890 metric tons of carbon can be sequestered per acre, which is estimated to be equivalent of taking about 700 passenger vehicles off the road for a year. Further, the redwood forests that were logged in the mid-1800s have accumulated around 339 metric tons of carbon per acre already. Hence, the results of the studies suggest that it is considerably important to invest in actively restoring second-growth redwood forests for substantial carbon sequestration without having to wait for centuries.

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