Save Our Sequoias: Protect Yosemite’s Giant Sequoia Groves - 2016

Giant sequoias bear the scars of wildfire and curious visitors alike. Conservancy funding is helping park scientists learn how giant sequoias respond to fire and will protect them for the future.

Yosemite’s giant sequoias are an awe-inspiring symbol of the park’s wild beauty and history. While scientists have learned much about these majestic trees, little is known about the factors that affect young sequoia seedlings and saplings.

In 2016, as crews work on the restoration of Mariposa Grove, park scientists, assisted by a local college intern, will continue research in Yosemite’s other giant sequoia groves, Merced and Tuolumne. This year, surveys and studies will focus on identifying specific environmental conditions young sequoias need to survive, including above- and below-ground temperatures, light, humidity and soil composition. Results from this research will help the park make sure that sequoias continue to thrive in these natural havens for many generations. As scientists focus on juvenile trees, new fencing and signs will help protect mature sequoias from root trampling and other disturbances.

By supporting research to protect Yosemite’s young giants, you will ensure future generations are inspired by towering sequoias.

Partnering with Yosemite National Park, Student Conservation Association, and University of California, Merced.

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Project Notes
Giant sequoia with scorched crown in Yosemite's Tuolumne Grove

In 2013, we were startled to discover that there are few young trees and no seedlings in either Merced or Tuolumne Grove, likely a result of insufficient fire. Serendipitously, as a consequence of actions taken during the Rim Fire, these two groves (the Merced Grove prevented from burning; the Tuolumne Grove back-burned as a protection measure) have become an inadvertent controlled study testing the recommendation for increased clearing and understory burning.

Alison Colwell
Botanist
Yosemite National Park