California's Ancient Big Basin Redwoods re-Sproout After Catastrophic Fire

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Ancient redwoods recover from fire by sprouting 1000-year-old buds

After a devastating conflagration, trees regrow using energy stored long ago

1 DEC 2023•5:55 PM ET•BY ERIK STOKSTAD

When lightning ignited fires around California’s Big Basin Redwoods State Park north of Santa Cruz in August 2020, the blaze spread quickly. Redwoods naturally resist burning, but this time flames shot through the canopies of 100-meter-tall trees, incinerating the needles. “It was shocking,” says Drew Peltier, a tree ecophysiologist at Northern Arizona University. “It really seemed like most of the trees were going to die.”

Yet many of them lived. In a paper published yesterday in Nature Plants, Peltier and his colleagues help explain why: The charred survivors, despite being defoliated, mobilized long-held energy reserves—sugars that had been made from sunlight decades earlier—and poured them into buds that had been lying dormant under the bark for centuries.

https://www.science.org/content/article ... r-old-buds

The paper:
Abstract

For long-lived organisms, investment in insurance strategies such as reserve energy storage can enable resilience to resource deficits, stress or catastrophic disturbance. Recent fire in California damaged coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) groves, consuming all foliage on some of the tallest and oldest trees on Earth. Burned trees recovered through resprouting from roots, trunk and branches, necessarily supported by nonstructural carbon reserves. Nonstructural carbon reserves can be many years old, but direct use of old carbon has rarely been documented and never in such large, old trees. We found some sprouts contained the oldest carbon ever observed to be remobilized for growth. For certain trees, simulations estimate up to half of sprout carbon was acquired in photosynthesis more than 57?years prior, and direct observations in sapwood show trees can access reserves at least as old. Sprouts also emerged from ancient buds—dormant under bark for centuries. For organisms with millennial lifespans, traits enabling survival of infrequent but catastrophic events may represent an important energy sink. Remobilization of decades-old photosynthate after disturbance demonstrates substantial amounts of nonstructural carbon within ancient trees cycles on slow, multidecadal timescales.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41477-023-01581-z
(paywall)

This is pretty cool. Those of us who have been under the eternal redwoods were sad about the fire. Yet here they are coming back in an extraordinary move by an ancient species.

CDFingers
The wheel is turning and you can't slow down. You can't let go and you can't hold on.
You can't go back and you can't stand still. If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will

Re: California's Ancient Big Basin Redwoods re-Sproout After Catastrophic Fire

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Sequoia sempervirens are redwoods closer to the coast, sequoiadendron giganteum are their inland cousins the giant sequoias.
Both species are adept at handling fire, with bark up to two feet thick and the ability to regrow even if more than 90 percent of their foliage scorches—coast redwoods can handle even more. But neither species loves the super-hot fires that have become more commonplace in recent years because of human choices.
Coast redwoods and giant sequoias have endured for 200 million years, as continents drifted, the climate swung from hothouse to ice age, and early humans came on the scene. The tallest coast redwood—the tallest tree in the world—reaches 379.1 feet, taller than a football field is long. The biggest giant sequoia ever found is the size of 50 shipping containers, or about 10 blue whales. The oldest surviving sequoia sprouted more than 3,000 years ago.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/envi ... 20choices.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: California's Ancient Big Basin Redwoods re-Sproout After Catastrophic Fire

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I have a thirty five year old bonsai of a Dawn Redwood. It is deciduous. It has lost its needles for the season. It's about two feet tall.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metasequo ... stroboides

I also have some bonsai coast redwoods. One is still in its pot, but its brother escaped when we moved to this house in 1992. It was in a wooden pot and one root snuck out. It's now rooted in the ground. I keep it hacked back, as it is programmed to reach to 360 feet. It's about fifteen feet. Its brother in the pot is about eighteen inches.

Life finds a way.

CDFingers
The wheel is turning and you can't slow down. You can't let go and you can't hold on.
You can't go back and you can't stand still. If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will

Re: California's Ancient Big Basin Redwoods re-Sproout After Catastrophic Fire

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TrueTexan wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 11:15 am Think this isn't the first time in all of their long lives that this didn't happen. Lucky mother nature has provided ways of survival of the fittest.
Yes, man has complicated things but mother nature hopefully wins in the end. Redwoods and Sequoias are magnificent trees that we should do everything to protect. Most of the giant sequoias in CA are on federal land while redwoods are equally on state and federal lands.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: California's Ancient Big Basin Redwoods re-Sproout After Catastrophic Fire

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CDFingers wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 7:30 am

When lightning ignited fires around California’s Big Basin Redwoods State Park north of Santa Cruz in August 2020, the blaze spread quickly. Redwoods naturally resist burning, but this time flames shot through the canopies of 100-meter-tall trees, incinerating the needles. “It was shocking,” says Drew Peltier, a tree ecophysiologist at Northern Arizona University. “It really seemed like most of the trees were going to die.”

Yet many of them lived. In a paper published yesterday in Nature Plants, Peltier and his colleagues help explain why: The charred survivors, despite being defoliated, mobilized long-held energy reserves—sugars that had been made from sunlight decades earlier—and poured them into buds that had been lying dormant under the bark for centuries.
Awesome, and also really neat. Carbon dating the sprouts after all the foliage burned off means they were using carbon sucked up by the tree years ago, and all the radioactive isotopes from above-ground atmospheric bomb tests have just been sitting there decaying until put back to work. There are some really cool applications of nuclear chemistry.
CDFingers wrote: I have a thirty five year old bonsai of a Dawn Redwood. It is deciduous. It has lost its needles for the season. It's about two feet tall.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metasequo ... stroboides

I also have some bonsai coast redwoods. One is still in its pot, but its brother escaped when we moved to this house in 1992. It was in a wooden pot and one root snuck out. It's now rooted in the ground. I keep it hacked back, as it is programmed to reach to 360 feet. It's about fifteen feet. Its brother in the pot is about eighteen inches.

Life finds a way.

CDFingers
I knew a guy years back who planted all three species wherever he moved. He was especially proud of the dawn redwoods - his kids had brought some of their fossils back from summer camp, and he was dedicated to bringing them back to North America. I guess that means they're invasive, but the same way horses are. Locally extirpated, survived in Asia until western colonialism brought them back.

I got out to one of the big stands they keep quasi-secret, years ago. Not too hard to find out where they are if you have half-ways decent Google fu and know enough orienteering to read a map properly. The old stands are properly awe inspiring. I guess you don't live several thousand years if you can't survive once-a-millennium wildfires every now and again. They're just coming too often these days, and I hope I get the chance to get out to Sequoia before it's too late to appreciate it.

Re: California's Ancient Big Basin Redwoods re-Sproout After Catastrophic Fire

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Back in the 80's it was still OK to journey out to the then world's tallest tree. You'd go to Orick at the State Park there and hop a shuttle bus that would take you most of the way in. Then you'd hike down to the grove. We have a pic, now just on paper, of me, my wife, and our son standing all three with our arms out in front of that tree, and it was still fatter than we could span. At the time I think it was 365 feet tall. What struck me most about those ancient groves was how silent it was. More like "quiet" not silent. It was like being in a very very old place that had been there for a long time. Sort of eerie but tremendously peaceful. Ferns all over the place, it was near the bottom of a canyon with a river at down below. As we were hiking back out, we heard this roaring noise, and four jets painted black with no other markings in very tight formation flew below us through the canyon, following the exact contours of the walls. I would never want to fuck with the US Air Force.

CDFingers
The wheel is turning and you can't slow down. You can't let go and you can't hold on.
You can't go back and you can't stand still. If the thunder don't get you then the lightning will

Re: California's Ancient Big Basin Redwoods re-Sproout After Catastrophic Fire

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Mason wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 9:18 am Not Sequoia, Redwood. They are different.

I’m glad to hear this. Redwood forests are special and I greatly miss living and especially riding my bike among them.
I remember going there as a child growing up in the Santa Cruz mountains. I worked two summers at Big Basin in the early 80’s while in college. I still regularly ride there on my bike too. It has been amazing to watch the recovery over the past few years. Who remembers the movie, “Silent Running “?

Re: California's Ancient Big Basin Redwoods re-Sproout After Catastrophic Fire

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CDFingers wrote: Sun Dec 03, 2023 4:39 pm Back in the 80's it was still OK to journey out to the then world's tallest tree. You'd go to Orick at the State Park there and hop a shuttle bus that would take you most of the way in. Then you'd hike down to the grove. We have a pic, now just on paper, of me, my wife, and our son standing all three with our arms out in front of that tree, and it was still fatter than we could span. At the time I think it was 365 feet tall. What struck me most about those ancient groves was how silent it was. More like "quiet" not silent. It was like being in a very very old place that had been there for a long time. Sort of eerie but tremendously peaceful. Ferns all over the place, it was near the bottom of a canyon with a river at down below. As we were hiking back out, we heard this roaring noise, and four jets painted black with no other markings in very tight formation flew below us through the canyon, following the exact contours of the walls. I would never want to fuck with the US Air Force.

CDFingers

I still remember as a young boy with my family visiting Humboldt Redwoods State Park with its Avenue of the Giants and finding it so quiet. Walking among behemoths and it was quiet except for the occasional wind.


Image
https://californiathroughmylens.com/ave ... he-giants/
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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