Protecting Redwoods and Our Climate in a
Post-Paris World

Protecting Redwoods and our Climate in a Post-Paris World

When President Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate accord on June 1, Sempervirens Fund doubled down on its commitment to help the U.S. reach its stated climate goals — despite the lack of leadership at the federal level.

While recent research indicates some redwoods may grow at a faster pace as a result of environmental conditions associated with a warming climate, the effects of climate change pose great threats to redwood forests. Wildfires resulting from drier conditions and higher temperatures threaten forests and the wildlife that live within them, and extended periods of drought can put stress on trees, making them more susceptible to pests.

At the same time, healthy redwood forests play a particularly important role in protecting our local climate. As they grow, redwoods take carbon dioxide out of the air and sequester and retain it in their wood; redwoods, in fact, capture more carbon that has been emitted from our cars, trucks and power plants than any other tree on Earth. When the carbon is captured and stored within living redwoods rather than remaining in the atmosphere, it no longer affects our climate.

Because of you, protection of these mighty redwoods continues with vim, vigor, and for the vitality of us all.

Protecting the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains has been Semperviren Fund’s core mission for over 117 years, and that work, which you make possible, is ever-more important today.

Your support helps to protect key properties like Cotoni-Coast Ridge, which foster climate resiliency in the Santa Cruz Mountains; you are saving second-growth redwoods from harvest, allowing them
to continue to grow and sequester carbon from the atmosphere; you are protecting forests that harbor native wildlife and habitat linkages that are critical for larger animals that need room to roam; and you are creating a protected, connected landscape, thus facilitating the coordinated land management that is key to enhancing forest health and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildlife.

You are also helping to create a new financing tool for redwood conservation. The Santa Cruz Carbon Cooperative, which we have been designing for the past two years, uses carbon credit aggregation as an incentive to protect the trees on small, forested properties. If this method proves feasible, enrolled landowners who agree to leave their trees standing will be paid for the carbon their redwoods sequester. The Carbon Cooperative will sell the aggregated “carbon credits,” valued by an independent third party, to companies that want to offset the carbon they are producing.

The Santa Cruz Mountains redwoods have already witnessed a lot of history; with your help we are ensuring that they continue to thrive regardless of the climate in Washington D.C. or Paris.

Sunrise at Cotoni-Coast Dairies

Sunset at Cotoni-Coast Dairies. Photo by Ian Bornarth.

This article was originally published in our Fall 2017 Mountain Echo newsletter. To see more Mountain Echo issues, please visit our publications page.