There is growing evidence that planting trees is one of the best ways to tackle climate change. This group is taking that to the extreme by cloning 3,000-year-old redwoods.
The nonprofit group called the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has spent years collecting “champion trees,” trees that grew taller and larger than any other tree of the same species. These trees represent the very best of the species’ genetic makeup and are prime targets to clone into groves of redwoods.
The world’s oldest and largest coast redwoods can live over 3,000 years old, these are the trees the nonprofit is using to clone. Measuring up to 35 feet in diameter and over 350 feet tall redwoods are giants compared to the average tree.
The nonprofit has worked for years gathering genetic material from these coast redwood giants. Some of the redwoods that were cut down over a century ago still have living tissue within the roots, allowing arborists to clone and propagate these trees.
Once they have the genetic material required, the team spends years cloning and propagating the trees into little saplings.
Last December the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive planted 75 coast redwood saplings that were cloned from trees that lived 2,000 to 3,000+ years. Redwoods naturally clone themselves and can send out a ring of cloned trees before they naturally die.
A big reason why these trees are targeted to clone and combat climate change is their ability to take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and lock it away in the tree. A typical tree will sequester (remove from the atmosphere) about 1 ton of carbon in its lifetime. A coast redwood will sequester 250 tons of carbon. Just one coast redwood has the ability to absorb as much carbon as 250 “regular” trees.
A recent article in Science calculated that if we were to plant 1 billion hectares of forest they could remove 2/3 of the total amount of carbon released into the atmosphere since the 1800s.
This paper, along with others continue to make a compelling case that a climate change mitigation plan should include global adoption of reforestation.
NASA found that while forests are increasingly cut down in the Amazon rainforest and Southeast Asia, there are regions of the world that are greening. Both India and China have had a big impact on the greening of Earth, making the overall green space larger today than 20 years ago. India broke the world record twice for the number of trees planted in a 24-hour timespan.
In 2017 India broke the world record by planting 66 million trees in just 12-hours. Countrywide initiatives such as this one to reforest land are attainable and greatly beneficial in limiting the impacts of climate change.
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