Tall Trees

Tall Trees

Coast redwoods tower over California state park.


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Biology, Experiential Learning, Geography, Physical Geography

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The Dyerville Giant was an enormous tree. In 1991, it fell to earth.

The redwood tree was 110 meters (362 feet) tall. It was taller than the Statue of Liberty. The tree stood in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This park is in California. The giant tree made a great crash. It shook the earth.

Dave Stockton is an expert on the park. He runs a nature group. Stockton and others give tours of the area. He remembered visiting the tree after it fell.

Stockton showed me the tree while walking around the park. It is not the only giant tree there. Others are huge, too. Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world. Some are more than 107 meters (350 feet) tall.

Rockefeller Forest

Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a large area. It covers many miles. Inside the park is Rockefeller Forest. It has the finest redwoods in the world. The forest has trees of all ages. Some are very young. They are called "dog hairs." These young trees cover the ground in patches. Other trees are much older. Some are now rotting stumps. They stick out like giant teeth.

Some of the trees are covered with spider webs. They almost look like beards. The redwoods here are very old. Some are almost 2,000 years old.

Redwoods are special. They live so long because they have high amounts of tannin. It keeps insects away. The trees also have low amounts of resin. That helps them survive fires.

Threats to Redwoods

The redwoods face several dangers. Stockton thinks the biggest natural danger is wind. The trees can grow very tall. However, their roots are shallow. They do not grow far into the ground. That means the trees are easily shaken. Too much wind could knock them over.

Humans have long used the wood of redwood trees. Some local Native American peoples built canoes and sweathouses out of the tree trunks. They used the roots to make baskets. In the 1850s, loggers harvested redwoods for buildings and railroad ties.

Many animals live in the forests. Bats live within hollow trunks. Birds nest in the branches. Insects live on fallen redwoods. The trees also provide dens. Skunks and foxes live here.

The trail lead through the forest. It brought us to a place called Cathedral Grove. The trees there are huge. They are the largest in the forest. Stockton loves being there. "It's so quiet," he said.

Fast Fact

Movie Magic
Scenes for Return of the Jedi and The Lost World: Jurassic Park were shot in California's Redwoods National and State Parks. In The Lost World, the parks stand in for the fictional Isla Sorna, a tropical island where dinosaurs roam free. In Return of the Jedi, the parks stand in for the forest moon of Endor, where ewoks roam free.

Media Credits

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Stuart Thornton
Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing, Emdash Editing
Kara West
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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