Bulletin: O redwood tree, o redwood tree, can tree genetics save thee?

The 2020 SQF Complex Fire killed at least 80 giant sequoia monarchs on the Alder Creek property owned by Save the Redwoods League. (Photo by Save the Redwoods League)

The devastating wildfires that ripped through California this year and last consumed nearly a fifth of the world’s giant sequoias, the largest trees on Earth by volume. According to official estimates, between 13 and 19 percent of the 75,000 sequoias over 4 feet in diameter were lost in just two years. While sequoias evolved with wildfire and need it to open their seed cones and to clear the forest floor so the seeds can germinate, the fires over the last two years—exacerbated by climate change-driven drought—were simply too hot.

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