YOUR WEEKLY DOSE OF WOWZERS AND WONDER FROM THE NATURAL WORLD
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Trees might not seem very Wowzerful. But there’s one massive difference between this week’s featured topic and most other trees.
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be a bug? Well, standing next to a California Redwood would probably give you a pretty good idea.
Let’s take a closer look at these gigantic trees!
Reaching more than 97.5 meters (320 ft) into the sky, the California Redwood, also known as the Coast Redwood or Sequoia Sempervirens, holds the title of the tallest tree in the world.
These woody wonders are thought to have existed as far back as the dinosaurs, though the oldest living tree officially listed dates back to around 2,200 years, according to Sempervirens.org.
But they’re not just tall. These trees are seriously sturdy. Some are as wide as 6.7 meters (22 feet), and the bark alone can grow up to 30 centimetres (1 foot) thick! That’s some serious armour.
This thick bark and massive trunk make these trees virtually invincible, with no known threats from bugs, birds, or even fires.
They even intertwine their roots to help their towering trunks remain stable in high winds or when coastal rains saturate the soil.
Despite this, humans nearly wiped them out over the past 150 years. Only five percent of the oldest redwoods remain as miners and settlers used many of them to build California’s coastal cities around the time of the Gold Rush.
Today, however, conservation efforts are working to save these gentle giants.
And saving the California Redwood saves far more than the trees themselves. Their immense size and widespread growth mean they create lush, peaceful environments in which a range of other creatures call home. Their height means they support life from the floor, to the towering heights of the sky above.
Researchers have found that in densely grown areas, the thick branches of the California Redwood can keep soil suspended. This creates floating gardens with other plants, worms, bugs, and even trees growing on these massive trees!
Thankfully, conservation efforts are going very well. This means that even three or five generations from now, kids just like you should be able to admire these same sky-high sequoias!
When explorers discover a new record-breaking tree, they give it a name. Hyperion currently holds the record, reaching an astounding 115.9 meters (380.1 feet) tall! Their locations are kept secret to keep sightseers from disturbing them.
Not everything about the California Redwood is giant. Their pinecones are surprisingly cute and tiny, averaging only 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) or so in length.
According to researchers at Yale, coast redwood forests can store more carbon dioxide than any other forest in the world. This means their survival could be a critical component of fighting climate change.
Redwoods sip from the surrounding fog to help hydrate their massive bodies. The fog condenses on the needles and is absorbed. Any remaining moisture slowly trickles down the tree until it reaches the roots.
See the sights of Avenue of the Giants, a 31 mile stretch of California Redwood groves in Northern California.
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That’s all for this week. We hope you enjoyed this look at these mind-blowing tall trees. If you have a topic you’d like to see covered, we’d love to hear about it! Drop us a line! Until next week, stay curious and keep exploring!
Today’s email was written by Joshua J. with contributions by Geoff W. and Branden S.
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