Friday, June 15, 2012

Photo of the Week - Coastal Redwoods

Coast Redwoods at Muir Woods, California

Coast redwoods occupy a narrow strip of land approximately 750 kilometres long and 8 to 75 km  wide along the Pacific coast.  The most southerly grove is in Monterey County, California, and the most northerly groves are in extreme southwestern Oregon.

This native area provides a unique environment with heavy seasonal rains - 2,500 millimetres. Cool coastal air and fog drip keep this forest consistently damp year round. Condensation from coastal fog accounts for a considerable part of the trees' water needs.  Several factors, including the heavy rainfall, create a soil with fewer nutrients than the trees need, causing them to depend heavily on the entire biotic community of the forest, and complete recycling of the trees when dead.

The thick, tannin-rich bark, combined with foliage starting high above the ground provides good protection from both fire and insects, contributing to the coast redwood's longevity. The oldest known specimen is about 2,200 years old.

 An estimated 95% or more of the original old-growth redwood forest has been cut down.

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