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(8,979 posts)
18. Note that Dr. William Libby is one of the authors in the research quoted elsewhere in this thread.
Thu Dec 13, 2012, 03:06 AM
Dec 2012

Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) has notably poor seed viability and most natural regeneration is by coppice (sprouting, a natural form of cloning common to aspen and tanoak among other species). Much of the current 2nd or later growth redwood forests are natural clones of the original forests.

The poor coast redwood seed viability and difficulty in seed collection led to early research on cloning for commercial planting.

Most commercial conifer nurseries are based upon seedlings grown from seed rather than clones but this is different for coast redwood.

Forest managers, specifically silviculturists, in the redwood region wanted reliable redwood planting stock.

Two problems with relying on sprouts from the original growth forests are sprouting is inversely proportional to diameter (smaller trees more readily sprout) and the extremely large nature of the trees in the original growth forests lead to large gaps without redwood sprouts. It is also important to note that most of the public is accustomed to viewing redwood parklands that are often nearly pure and on lower elevations and alluvial flats along whereas a significant portion of later redwood logging is on slopes where redwood is mixed with Douglas-fir, grand-fir, western hemlock, red cedar, and, close to the coast, Sitka spruce.

The regenerated mixed stands have a greater component of redwood because of the advantage of sprouting and because the wide spacing are filled in with planted redwood because of the value, rapid growth, and ease of regeneration in commercial redwood forests.

Coast redwood cloning technology was in place. What is unique to this group is concentration on developing clones from "champion" sized trees. I have visited 100 plus year old plantings of redwood in the northern Pyrennees of France and in Wales and the stands look much like Humboldt county, CA. If one plants redwood outside the fog belt, the trees are limited by physics of water conduction in absolute height growth.

I actually took Forest Genetics from Dr. Libby nearly 40 years ago at Cal and live less than 15 miles from the Tall Tree Grove of Redwood National Park.

Heard this story on NPR last weekend. Really cool. n/t FSogol Dec 2012 #1
I, for one, welcome our new giant tree overlords... n/t PoliticAverse Dec 2012 #2
Hats off to Dr. Rama Nemani. If in his place were a teabagger or Repug, they would have sworn that. BlueJazz Dec 2012 #3
I own a redwood timber ranch. They are far more like a weed than any tree I've seen. Gregorian Dec 2012 #4
I live right next to a redwood forest; they grow in my yard REP Dec 2012 #10
I really hate when I hear so called scientists say that something can not be done Drale Dec 2012 #5
Agreed, but it DOES supply motivation Celebration Dec 2012 #8
Scientists didn't think it couldn't be done, however... blatka Dec 2012 #13
Note that Dr. William Libby is one of the authors in the research quoted elsewhere in this thread. PufPuf23 Dec 2012 #18
Coast Redwoods have been cloned for over 25 years and are used operationally. commercial planting PufPuf23 Dec 2012 #6
Milarch cloned dead trees. The one mentioned in the OP was felled 130 years ago. snagglepuss Dec 2012 #7
From the website you posted. PufPuf23 Dec 2012 #9
this species is not extinct, is my understanding. so why the need for the cloning? HiPointDem Dec 2012 #11
Why the need for cloning answer... blatka Dec 2012 #12
Thanks! NYC_SKP Dec 2012 #14
what i'm asking is -- the remaining trees are still producing seeds (or whatever you call them) -- HiPointDem Dec 2012 #17
Excellent. (nt) DirkGently Dec 2012 #15
Its so hard to read about some of those things - "cut down to win a bet"... bhikkhu Dec 2012 #16
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