Climate Change and Redwood Forests

Climate Change Deniers and a Changing Climate

If you sense that the whole world is standing at crossroads, that we’ve reached a critical moment in time, then you’re not alone. Over the last decade, more Americans have become concerned about climate change. Last year Earth reached its highest temperature ever recorded; a new record has been set every year for the past three years.

Despite this, the Trump administration proposed to drastically shrink the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget and reduce its staff. In March the administration took its first step towards dismantling the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which would have closed hundreds of coal-fired power plants and prevented the construction of new ones. Critical funding for bedrock environmental protection and public lands are under attack.

We’re seeing climate change denial permeate the highest levels of government and national policy. This will result in far-reaching effects on the environment—effects that may persist beyond the length of two presidential terms. That’s why it’s more important than ever to fight climate change on a local level.

View from redwood canopy.

Redwood canopy at Lagomarsino. Photo by Rebecca Thomas.

Coast Redwoods and the Climate Change Fight

Sempervirens Fund is committed to protecting the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains—and for good reason. Coast redwoods are more than just a remarkable and iconic species. Studies show that coast redwoods capture the most carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to any other tree on Earth; protecting redwood forests is one way to help put the brakes on global climate change.

Purchasing a redwood forest for conservation purposes is only the first step. After acquiring a property, Sempervirens Fund takes measures to restore forest habitats that have been degraded by human activity, especially turn of the century clear-cutting. Healthy redwood forests – those with old-growth characteristics – have the capacity to store the most carbon dioxide of any forest type. By using a number of experimental forestry techniques, we can likely accelerate healthy growth in young, second-growth redwood forests while doing our part to decelerate the impacts of climate change.

When Sempervirens Fund protects a property, we are also ensuring habitat connectivity for wildlife. Many species – such as mountain lions and the American badger – need vast swathes of land to flourish. And as the climate changes, we expect the range of many species to shift.

Beyond the inherent benefits of protecting coast redwoods, Sempervirens Fund leads projects to explicitly fight climate change. The Lompico Forest Project, which started in 2008, is one of those efforts. Before Sempervirens Fund bought the 425-acre Lompico forest, 60% of its redwoods trees were slated to be cut down. Now, as the redwoods continue to grow and store carbon, Sempervirens Fund sells carbon credits to energy consumers. When a company purchases carbon credits, they are raising the funds needed to protect the Lompico Forest. At the same time, they are offsetting their own carbon footprint. Together we continue to make a positive impact on climate change.

Additional Resources

Hillside and redwood trees in San Vicente Redwoods

View from San Vicente Redwoods. Photo by Ian Bornarth.