California’s cherished sequoia trees affected by drought

(Last Updated On: October 3, 2015)

California is suffering from a four-year drought and experts say the sequoias are being affected as well. The state is famous for the huge trees, which are among the oldest and largest of all living things on this planet. They, too, need water to survive, and they aren’t getting it. The National Park Service is looking into how the dry spell has affected the giant trees and to figure out what can be done to help them make it through.

Sequoias can grow over 295 feet tall and up to 49 feet at the base, and are only found in the Sierra Nevada range. Some are over 3,000 years old. Anthony Ambrose, a tree biologist with the UC Berkeley, made the following comments:

“It’s an amazing experience to be able to climb up into these things and know that it’s been growing in this same spot for you know a thousand years or more.”

Once, the Sierra Nevada range had lots of water because of mountain streams. Now, because of the drought, there’s a lot less water available for the trees, each of which needs over an astonishing 790 gallons a day. Now they’re not getting nearly as much, and some are showing signs of thirst; some trees are showing unusual levels of foliage die-back and scientists are trying to decide if human intervention is needed. If so, that might include cutting down less important tree species that compete with the ancient trees for the precious water.

As we know, the ancient species of tree has survived thousands of years spanning many droughts, insect infestations, forest fires, and other disasters. Scientists believe that the sequoias will live to see another day, unlike some other California trees.