How do you help save a Sequoia? Our forest friends over at the Sequoia Parks Conservancy have a Sequoia Conservation Fund that helps the Resource Management and Science Team at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in giant sequoia monitoring and restoration.
The following is a breakdown of what it costs to run this program:
- Two forest technicians for one year: $6,800
- Sequoia stand structure monitoring for one year: $25,000
- Prescribed fire in sequoia groves: $350-$500/acre
- Research to understand mortality of adult sequoia trees for one year: $165,000
- Evaluating new locations for sequoias to live: $83,000
Please consider making the commitment to keep our sequoias healthy by donating to their cause today.
The Mighty Sequoia
Giant sequoias, Sequoiadendrongiganteum, are a large, long-lived pioneer species found on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and are currently found in approximately 75 scattered groves within mixed conifer forests.
Giant sequoias rely on fire to open cones and create mineral soil conditions and high sunlight conditions for seedling germination. Mature giant sequoia trees can live to be thousands of years old, and until recently their primary cause of death was falling over.
However, today, giant sequoias face three major threats:
- burning up in high severity fires;
- being killed by drought-mediated insect attack (between 20 and 30 monarch sequoias have died this way within Sequoia National Park); and
- death from other unanticipated impacts of climate change such as altered hydrology, snowpack, or other factors.
What is Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Doing to Help Giant Sequoias?
- Executing prescribed burns in the mixed conifer zones
This type of fire makes the forest more resilient, and breaks up fuel loads, reducing the likelihood of large fires that could damage giant sequoia groves. Increasing the pace and scale of burning is an important and expensive task.
- Executing prescribed burns in high-priority giant sequoia groves
Burning is necessary for regeneration and protects groves from severe wildfires.
- Reducing carbon emissions
Transitioning to a more efficient vehicle fleet, utilizing solar power at Crystal Cave and park headquarters, and offering electric vehicle charging stations in the parks is making a difference in park air quality.
- Protecting natural hydrology
Using modern techniques and materials for meadow restoration, trail design, and efficient water systems we can greater protect the vital hydrology systems in the parks.
- Developing a community science program
By encouraging volunteers such as youth and their families to help us monitor sequoia growth and die-back we can accomplish more.
- Studying giant sequoia response to changing conditions
NPS, USGS, and other partners have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars studying how giant sequoias responded to our recent drought. We are also actively monitoring forest conditions and using this knowledge to plan forest resilience treatments such as burning, thinning, and planting.
What Can You Do to Help Giant Sequoias?
- Make a donation to Sequoia Parks Conservancy’s Sequoia Conservation Fund. Ninety percent of your donation directly supports the critical and crucial work being done at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to ensure that giant sequoias stay healthy and are given the opportunity to mature.
- Do whatever you can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
There are many things we can all do to slow and even reverse the trend in carbon emissions. All current data and modeling indicate climate change is detrimental to giant sequoias. Become educated on legislation that affects climate change and take personal action such as not waiting in-line at a drive through, carpool and recycle. To see all the different climate change solutions that are out there check out drawdown.org or check out the recommendation from the Union of Concerned Scientists: https://www.ucsusa.org/what-can-i-do-about-climate-change
- Help us monitor and learn about giant sequoias.
So much is changing rapidly in our environment that scientists can’t keep up. Many parks and other areas have community science projects can help scientists collect data to track, understand, and respond to these changes. In Sequoia National Park, volunteers monitor sequoia growth over time to help park managers understand if trees are growing more slowly or dying more quickly as our environment changes. To see opportunities or to request an opportunity to volunteer with giant sequoias, please visit https://www.nps.gov/seki/getinvolved/volunteer.htm