Old growth forests matter for so many reasons. Not least, biophilic reasons. But at this moment, we rightly pay more attention to their value with regard to urgent climate issues. Maddie Oatman makes a good case in this Mother Jones essay:
Biden’s executive order to preserve ancient trees is a big deal—but it could have gone further.
Few experiences have rendered me as awestruck as the winter morning I spent wandering through a grove of ancient sequoias, their sienna bark glowing against the snowy ground. They’re the world’s largest trees, spanning up to 36 feet in diameter and more than 250 feet in height. And they’ve been known to live for 3,400 years. But fewer and fewer of them are getting the chance to make it that long: In the past two years, three massive wildfires that roared through the western slope of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains torched thousands of sequoias. The damage was so severe, experts estimated, that almost a fifth of the planet’s sequoias died or suffered terminal burns during the blazes.
Sequoias have adapted to live with fire, and their thick bark usually protects them from damage. So the tremendous losses in the past few years can’t be chalked up to bad luck: Since 2015, according to a National Park Service report, there has been a “dramatic increase” in severe wildfires in sequoia country due to hotter, drier conditions linked to climate change…
Read the entire essay here.