New coalition plants thousands of new Sequoia trees

The Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition replants thousands of trees and rehabilitates over 4,000 acres of land burned by wildfires

ARNOLD, CALIF. – After a series of devastating wildfires within the last few years, the Tule River Indian Reservation, alongside the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition, announced their progress in rehabilitating Sequoia trees in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The coalition, which began in 2021, traveled to Calaveras Big Trees State Park on Dec. 14 to announce their progress in planting and restoring the burned areas of the Sequoia National Park. They spent all of 2022 planting more than 248,000 native conifers throughout the giant sequoia range after major wildfires, such as the 2020 Castle Fire, devastated thousands of acres. Their work has treated 4,257 acres of the Sequoias, according to the coalition’s progress report. The coalition’s work in 2022 was led by 824 members at a cost of $10.5 million.

“An unprecedented crisis demands an unprecedented response,” Jessica Morse, deputy secretary for forest and wildland resilience, California Natural Resources Agency, said in a statement. “Funding and a shift in government business practices – like deploying emergency authorities for the National Environmental Policy Act – have enabled us to scale and speed up crucial resilience projects.”

The coalition’s members are from the USDA Forest Service, National Parks Service (NPS), Tule River Indian Tribe of California and Save the Redwoods League. In their first year of large-scale collaboration, the coalition has already exceeded their goals by treating more than double the acres originally targeted for restoration in 2022. They restored 36 of approximately 80 groves, according to the coalition’s press release.

These restoration efforts come after thousands of mature Sequoia trees burned down just two years earlier due to a wildfire. The Castle Fire engulfed 10% to 14% of all Sequoia trees in the Sierra Nevada range, according to the NPS. That translates to over 10,000 trees decimated. Cartographic Technician Josh Flickinger concluded 9,531.12 grove acres burned, and roughly 50% burned at low severity, while the other 50% burned at moderate or high severity. This devastating wildfire was a result of a lightning blitz in August of 2022.

“The loss of more than 10,000 giant sequoias is a somber testimony to the severity of the crisis. These resilience projects will make the difference between these monarch trees surviving or succumbing to the extreme climate pressures they face,” Morse said.

Additional progress made by the coalition this year was their research, alongside academic and nonprofit affiliates, continued to investigate sequoia health and changing ecology, documenting new phenomena driving fire behavior and tree mortality and completing post-fire assessments. 

They also are contributing to public outreach and education, including electronic and print publications, community meetings, webinars, field trips, media events and news releases that resulted in more than 10,000 stories.

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