The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet

It’s amazing for one layman to come up with the idea of saving champion trees as a meaningful way to address the issues of biodiversity and climate change. This could be a grass roots solution to a global problem. A few million people selecting and planting the right trees for the right places could really make a difference.

 Dr. Rama Nemani, NASA Earth Scientist

By Jim Robbins

“A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.”  William Blake


In 1993 my wife, Chere, and I bought fifteen acres of land on the outskirts of Helena, Montana. The property was tangled with a dense ponderosa pine forest so thick it’s called dog-hair, and some of the stubborn old trees had lived well there for centuries, in rocky terrain, marginal soil, and cold temperatures.  We installed a Finnish wood stove called a Tulikivi, a mammoth dark gray soapstone box about six feet tall, in the middle of the living room of our new house.  Tulikivis are highly efficient because the soft, dense stone mass around the firebox soaks up heat from a roaring fire and holds the warmth for 24 hours. Heat from the stone is radiant, softer and more pleasant than the heat from a burning fire. It’s also clean – wood stove pollution comes from damping down a fire so that it burns slowly, which gives off a dense cloud of smoke.  This stove burns hot.

Our forest and stove were the perfect marriage — we planned to slowly thin the trees and feed the fire with what we cut. We had more than enough wood, I figured, to last not only my lifetime, but my children’s and grandchildren’s.  We were fire-proofing our home as well, reducing the fuel in the woods around us should a wildfire blow up.  Thinning would help open the dense forest for the wildlife that occasionally appeared. A moose ran through the yard one day, a black bear turned over the barbecue, and a bobcat sauntered by. The eerie ululating howls of coyotes echoed at night and sent chills down my dog’s neck, and she wailed from her bed in the front hall.

Jim Robbins provides some scale to the enormity of the giant redwoods. Photo by Peter Kupfer.

One day in 2003, hiking through the woods to town, I saw my first fader. A fader is a tree that has been attacked and killed by insects, and slowly fades from green to a reddish brown. In this case the perpetrator was the mountain pine beetle, a small dark bug that burrows beneath the bark and lays its eggs. Larvae hatch and eat the phloem, a thin, moist membrane under the bark that is a life-support system for the tree. As the grubs gobble their way in a circle around the trunk, they cut the crown of the tree off from its source of water and from nutrients in the soil; the life in the tree ebbs, and it fades from alive to dead, a slow death.   Alarmed at the outbreak, I quickly chain-sawed down the red tree and stripped off the bark to expose the bugs to the cold. But I noticed several other large trees that, while still green, had been infected. Having finished this one off, the bugs had flown to other nearby trees to begin again.

The appearance and efflorescence of these bugs paralleled a series of warmer winters the West has experienced in the last few decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, winter usually meant two or three weeks or more of temperatures 20, 30, or 40 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. Since the 1980s the temperature has only dipped into 30 below territory a handful of times and never for a long period, and it has never fallen anywhere near the record of 70 below set in 1954.  The warmer wintertime minimum temperatures make a huge difference to the bugs. The larvae are well adapted and manufacture their own supply of glycol – the same chemical found in automobile anti-freeze — as they head into winter. They easily survive temperatures of 20 and 30 below.

Bark beetles such as the mountain pine beetle are highly evolved and ruthlessly efficient – the beetle’s Latin name, dendroctonus, means tree killer.  They carry a blue fungus from tree to tree in pouches under their legs, a super-rich food source that they plant in the host tree. As it grows they feed it to their young. After the larvae feast, they turn into adults, each the size of a letter on this page, and hatch from one tree by the thousands.   Swarming to a nearby uninfected tree, they tunnel through the bark, and once ensconced, they send out a chemical mist called a pheromone, a scented request for reinforcements. They need to overwhelm the tree quickly to kill it. When their numbers are large enough, they send out a follow-up pheromone message that says the tree is full. Each infected tree creates enough new bugs to infect five to eight other trees.

Jake Milarch starts a climb. Photo by Peter Kupfer

The tell-tale signs of an infected tree are ivory-colored, nickel-sized plugs that look like candle wax plastered on the trunks, which mean the tree is pumping out resin to try to drown a drilling bug. Sometimes a tree wins by entombing a beetle; far more often these days, the tree loses to the mob assault. The stress caused by warmer temperatures and drought makes it harder for the trees to muster enough resin to resist attacks.

A year after I saw the first fader, a dozen trees in our backyard forest were dead.  Then things went exponential. A dozen dead trees turned to thirty, which turned to a hundred and fifty, dying far faster than I could cut them down and turn them into firewood. Finally, five years after the first infected tree, all of our trees were dead. It’s eerie when the tree reaper comes to claim your forest and renders the once living world around you stone dead.  We threw in the towel and hired loggers to come in and cut our trees down.

Enormous machinery rumbled into our woods on tank treads. A piece of equipment called an “excadozer” grabbed a tree, cut it off at the base, and stripped the branches in less than a minute. I watched trees falling around the house, heard the angry hornet whine of chainsaws, and looked below to see our forest piled up like Lincoln logs ready to be turned into paste.  The tang of pine scent hung thickly in the air.

It’s eerie when the tree reaper comes to claim your forest and renders the once living world around you stone dead. When the forest is gone and the sky opens up, it’s disorienting, as if someone has removed a wall of your house. Broken branches, smashed limbs, and slivered stumps were all that was left; tank tread marks scarred the exposed forest floor. “It’s like open-heart surgery,” said my “personal logger,” Levi. “You don’t want to watch while it’s going on, but in the end it’s a good thing.”

The loggers hauled the logs off on trucks and loaded them on a freight train headed for Missoula, Montana, where they were sold to a paper plant, which chipped them and turned them into an oatmeal-like slurry to become cardboard boxes. It cost us about a thousand dollars an acre to cut and ship out our dead trees. They have little value as lumber because of the blue stain from the fungus the beetles inject. And there are so many dead trees in Montana these days it’s a buyer’s market.  The landscape looks post-apocalyptic in many places.

The once-forested hill behind our house is now a meadow.  A perch on a grassy hill-top a short hike from my house reveals an entire mountain valley draped with trees, nearly all of which are dead and dying.  All around Helena, in fact, the forests are mostly dead, a jumble of rust-red dead trees.

Trees and forests come and go all the time. Like fire, beetles are agents of the natural cycle of life and death; they break down trees so their nutrients can be absorbed into the soil and used by the next generation of trees. But the boundaries between what is natural and unnatural have broken down — and this outbreak and others in the West appear to be unnatural. Climate change, experts say, is partly a human artifact and has pushed the bugs into a much larger destructive role than they might otherwise play. Freed from their usual boundary of cold temperatures, they have broadened their range and claimed more territory, going higher in altitude and pushing further north than ever. They used to hatch from their tree and fly to a new host for two weeks in July; now they fly all summer and part of the fall. They used to only attack trees over five inches in diameter; now they are eating trees as big around as my thumb. Although the growing season for forests is two weeks or more longer than it used to be, the amount of precipitation is the same, and so the trees must go longer with the same amount of water, which has stressed them and reduced their defenses.

As I researched and wrote stories for the New York Times and other publications about this massive change in the woods, it dawned on me – I mean really dawned on me – that America’s cordillera, the mountains that extend from Alaska to Northern New Mexico, and that include my patch of forest, were ground zero for the largest die-off of forests in recorded history.  “A continental-scale phenomenon,” said one shocked scientist. Suddenly climate change hit home.

Jake Milarch halfway up a tree. Photo by Peter Kupfer

Imagine a world without trees.

It was no longer an abstract question for me. The forests on my property, in the valley where I live, in the region, and in much of the state are dying. The speed and thoroughness of the die-off is stunning.

Take a minute and imagine if every tree around your home, your city, your state were to wither and die. What would the world be like?  And it promises to become much worse if even the most conservative climate predictions come to pass. Few people are thinking about the future of forests and trees.

Credit where credit is due. This book began a decade ago, with vital questions that I never heard asked until they were posed by a third-generation shade tree farmer who claimed he had died and gone to heaven, and then returned. He was worried about the future of the global forest and told me that the trees that make up most of the world’s forests are the genetic runts – the scraps left after the last few centuries of orgiastic clear-cutting, which selected out the biggest, straightest, and healthiest trees. There is a strong, urgent case to be made that this is true, that we are witnessing a kind of evolution in reverse, and that genetically our forests are a shadow of what they once were and may not be strong enough to survive on a rapidly warming planet.

For a long time I doubted whether this farmer, a recovering alcoholic, former competitive arm wrestler and street brawler, who claimed a fantastic ride out of his body and back, really knew what was going on with the world’s trees. And then forests in my backyard and state and region and continent started dying; not just a few trees, but trees by the millions. They are still dying.  His ideas seem better every day.

Aldo Leopold wrote that “to keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”  It’s unimpeachable common sense that we have ignored. When it comes to our ancient forests we have nearly wiped them out – more than 90 percent of America’s old-growth forest is gone and is still being cut, and some 80 percent of the world’s has vanished. Yet we have only begun – only begun — to understand the ecological role these forests play or what secrets might be locked away in their genes.

Forests hold the natural world together. They have cradled the existence of our species since we first appeared–trees and forests are high-functioning members of ecological society, irreplaceable players at the apex of the complex ecological web around us. They are ecosystem engineers that create the conditions for other forms of life to exist, on every level. As I worked on this book the Gulf oil spill occurred, and was widely covered as the black tarry substance fouled beaches and killed wildlife. The loss of our trees and forests, our ecological infrastructure, isn’t nearly as dramatic; it’s a quiet crisis. But the impacts are far greater.

This book is about several things. It is first and foremost about David Milarch, the aforementioned tree farmer and an interesting guy if there ever was one. It is about the long-time human love affair with trees and forests, a love affair that has ebbed and flowed, but has been ongoing since the dawn of humans, since our ancestors first climbed into them to escape predators.  It is a book about the science of trees and of forests, and about the unappreciated roles they play in sustaining life on the planet.

David Milarch poses beside a Redwood. Photo by Peter Kupfer.

Trees are responsible for half the photosynthesis on land, taking in the energy from sunlight and transforming it to leaves, so that energy is usable by insects and mammals and birds. They are highly evolved water management specialists; a forest is a soft carpet on the landscape that allows a downpour to reach the ground gently, rather than in a torrent, so that it can be absorbed, rather than run off, and can recharge ground water. Trees feed oxygen and minerals into the ocean, create rain, render mercury, nitrates, and other toxic wastes in the soil harmless, gather and neutralize sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon dioxide, and other harmful air pollutants in their tissue, create homes and building materials, offer shade, provide medicine, and produce a wide variety of nuts and fruit. They sustain all manner of wildlife, birds, and insects with an array of food and shelter as well. They are the planet’s heat shield, slowing the evaporation of water and cooling the Earth. They generate vast clouds of chemicals that are vital to myriad aspects of the earth’s ecosystems, and likely vital to our health and well-being. They are natural reservoirs — as much as a hundred gallons of water can be stored in the crown of a large tree.  The water they release is part of a largely unrecognized water cycle.

Even viewed conservatively, trees are worth far more than they cost to plant and maintain. The U.S. Forest Service’s Center for Urban Forest Research found a ten-degree difference between the cool of a shaded park in Tucson and the open Sonoran desert. A tree planted in the right place, the center estimates, reduces the demand for air conditioning and can save 100 kilowatt hours in annual electrical use, about two to eight percent of total use. Strategically planted trees can also shelter homes from wind, and in cold weather they can reduce heating fuel costs by 10 to 12 percent.  A million strategically planted trees, the center figures, can save $10 million in energy costs. And trees increase property values, as much as one percent for each mature tree. These savings are offset, somewhat, by the cost of planting and maintaining trees, but on balance, if we had to pay for the services that trees provide, we couldn’t afford them. Because trees offer them in silence, and for free, we take them for granted.

This book also delves into the long history of the sacred aspects of trees, a worship that has been around for as long as people have.  There is a view among many to this day that trees were a gift from the creator, placed here to provide for our basic food and shelter needs.  Across cultures and across time they have been revered as sacred, a living antenna of sorts conducting divine energies. “The groves were God’s first temples,” wrote William Cullen Bryant in his 1824 poem “A Forest Hymn.”

Science has not, as we like to think, conquered every realm. And one of the places it has a great deal of work to do is with the trees. What an irony that these living beings whose shade we sit in, whose fruit we eat, whose limbs we climb, whose roots we water, whom most of us rarely give second thought to, are so poorly understood.  We need to come, as soon as possible, to a profound understanding and deep appreciation for trees and forests and the vital roles that they play, for they are one of our best allies in the uncertain future that is unfolding.

Chapter One – Champion Tree

…My journey into the world of trees started in 2001, when I read an article about an organization called the Champion Tree Project. At the time, the group’s goal was to clone the champion of each of the 826 species of trees in the United States, make hundreds or thousands of copies, and plant the offspring in “living archival libraries” around the country to preserve the trees’ DNA. A champion is a tree that has the highest combined score of three measurements – height, crown size, and diameter at breast height. The project’s co-founder, David Milarch, a shade tree nurseryman from Copemish, Michigan, a village near Traverse City, said he eventually hoped to both sell and give away the baby trees cloned from the giants. “Clones,” in this case, are human-assisted copies of trees made by taking cuttings of a tree and growing them—an old and widely-used horticultural technique for growing plants. Unlike a seedling, which may have only 50 percent of the genetics of a parent, a clone of a tree is a hundred percent genetic duplicate of a parent…

From the book THE MAN WHO PLANTED TRESS by Jim Robbins, published by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted with Permission. Copyright © 2012 by Jim Robbins


Climbing the Champion Bald Cypress in Florida.

Further Reference: Champion Tree Projects & Sustainable Land Development

Biodiversity is the Living Foundation for Sustainable Development

Building a Sustainable Community Forest

Traverse City Record-Eagle – News Story —

Floridian: A treasury of champions

A Tree Project Helps the Genes of Champions Live On – Quest begins to restore ‘champion’ trees by cloning

Group to Clone “Champion” Trees of Lewis and Clark

In Search Of Giants – Orlando Sentinel

Classic tree to branch out here – Chicago Tribune

Building a Sustainable Urban Forest

DefenseLINK News: Pentagon Ash Trees: Living Legacies For 9-11 …

Living on Earth: Champion Trees

Ecology for a Crowded Planet

Scientists trying to clone tree nearly 5000 years old

Giant gene pattern Taking Chips Off the Oldest Blocks

Seeds Of The Future – Sun Sentinel

Exploring Urban Renewal Through Sustainable Urban Forestry …

Group Prepares ‘Champion’ Tree Clones To Replenish Watersheds

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85 responses

  1. Reforest the Planet, Now!
    Your Own Health & Fitness Radio Show
    Broadcast Date July 17, 2012

    Author and journalist Jim Robbins, author of The Man Who Planted Trees, and David Milarch, the subject of the book, discuss the Champion Tree Project, which works to propagate and preserve the genetic heritage of the world’s last old-growth forest giants…

  2. Saving ‘Avatar Grove’: the battle to preserve old-growth forests in British Columbia
    Jeremy Hance – July 23, 2012

    Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA), is a group devoted to saving the island’s and British Columbia’s
    (BC) last old-growth while working with the logging industry to adopt sustainable practices. This February the organization succeeded in saving Avatar Grove—which was only discovered in 2009—from being clearcut. The grove, a rare stand of massive and ancient trees named after the popular eco science-fiction movie, has become a popular tourist destination, providing a new economic incentive for communities to protect rather than cut Canada’s last great forests…

    Mongabay: What is big tree tourism?

    T.J. Watt: Port Renfrew is making a name for itself as the “Big Trees Capital of Canada” and people are traveling from all around to see the record-sized trees. Aside from the Avatar Grove, nearby you also have the world’s tallest Douglas-fir tree, the Red Creek Fir, as well as Canada’s biggest spruce tree, the San Juan Spruce. A few hours drive to the north, you also have Canada’s largest tree, the Cheewhat Giant. For a town like Port Renfrew with a long history of logging, this type of tourism provides a transition away from a resource-based economy to one based on old-growth protection and recreation. Bottom line—the trees are worth much more standing up than lying down. Read more:

  3. Nature | News Feature
    Forest fires: Burn out
    Forests in the American west are under attack from giant fires, climate change and insect outbreaks. Some ecosystems will never be the same

    …The forest die-offs in the American west resemble shifts happening in other parts of the world. In 2010, Allen and 19 colleagues from around the world found that published reports of forest die-offs associated with drought have increased significantly since 1985, and are occurring in ecosystems ranging from the tropical forests of Costa Rica to Australian acacia forests and pine forests in east-central China…

  4. Ecological Restoration, Meet Climate Change
    October 12, 2012 By Tricia Edgar

    What Ecosystems Should We Restore?

    One of the biggest debates in the restoration community is what to restore. If we’re trying to move back, to replace an ecosystem that was lost, what ecosystem are we trying to replace? With a climate that’s been relatively stable for thousands of years, it’s easy to ignore the fact that the Earth’s ecosystems have always changed, and sometimes they’ve changed profoundly. There have been times when glaciers stood where large cities are today. There have been times when large reptiles walked in the Arctic. The Earth’s climate is not static, and we know that, but it’s easy to forget how completely different our planet has been in the past, and what a different place the world could become in the future…

    1. Climate
      models show that for trees in North America to stay in their environmental
      comfort zone, to which they are currently adapted, they would have to migrate
      700 kilometres over 70 years. But studies from the last ice age have estimated
      how fast trees can migrate. “They can only shift their range at about 100
      metres a year” to survive the climate change under way, Dr. Aitken says.
      Redwoods, in particular, live in what scientists call a “narrow climatic
      niche.” The concern has led to widespread discussion in policy and
      academic circles, leading many to support “assisted
      migration” – humans helping trees move. Some scientists warn
      that assisted migrations that are too extreme put other trees at risk.
      Nonetheless, Mr. Milarch’s vision is to reforest parts of the world with cloned
      ancient redwoods. (The species, grown from seed, has been planted with success
      in parts of the world, including Australia and New Zealand.) Most redwoods live
      1,000 years, and only a few live 2,000 to 3,000 years, and that’s why Archangel
      wants to use their clones for reforestation. Some scientists question whether
      it’s the genetics of ancient trees or simply the superior environment in which
      they happen to grow that causes their longevity. But in an effort to be
      thorough and cautious, Archangel has cloned ancient coastal redwoods and giant
      sequoias (their cousins) across the full range of their habitats – from the
      coldest extreme to the hottest and driest…

      1. Man planting clones of long-dead redwoods
        Dec 03, 2012

        “The clones will be planted on Terry Mock’s 160-acre Ocean Mountain Ranch. Mock is a former director of the Champion Tree Project and is turning the ranch into a demonstration of sustainable development. They will go into the ground on the sheltered north slope of a ridge about a mile from the coast near Humbug Mountain. The site is about 40 miles north of the northern tip of the coast redwood’s range, and about 700 miles north of the sequoias in California’s southern Sierra Nevada.”

        “As things get hotter and drier, redwoods and sequoias should migrate
        north,” Mock said. “This is a logical spot.”

  5. Archangel Ancient Tree Archive
    by BodyMindSpirit Radio
    October 17, 2012

    Will genetic clones of the World’s largest trees help to save the planet? One man believes the answer to this question is YES! David Milarch of Copemish, MI. has dedicated years to this concept and the project will be launched December 4, 2012.

    Join us to hear the details of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive…

  6. An Epic Bark Beetle Feeding Frenzy
    Posted: 10/25/2012
    By Dr. Reese Halter

    One of the most visible and unintended consequences of global warming are bark beetles. Drought beget beetles. The U.S. is experiencing its worst drought in more than 50 years. The first 9 months of 2012 have been the warmest of any year on record in the contiguous U.S. These warm temperatures are fueling the largest tree-killing, bark beetle epidemic ever recorded throughout western North America…

    With warming temperatures and a plentiful food source, the harbingers of global warming – bark beetles – are now for the first time ever into Earth’s emerald crown or the boreal forest, which extends all the way across the continent to Labrador and the Atlantic Ocean.

    Contact: David Milarch
    Tel. 231/883/5366

    Will Genetic Clones of the World’s Largest Trees Help to Save the Planet?

    (Port Orford, OR – October 16, 2012) The non-profit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has announced plans to restore an old growth forest on the southern Oregon coast with exact genetic duplicates of the largest champion redwood and sequoia trees in the world. David Milarch, co-founder of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive and the Champion Tree Project International, will lead the historic planting in order to preserve the genetics of the largest and oldest livings organisms on earth in an effort to assist with the migration of the species during coming climate changes. Timed to take advantage of the seasonal rainy season, the planting will occur on December 4th, 2012, at Ocean Mountain Ranch, located in the headwaters of the Port Orford Community Stewardship Area overlooking old growth forest and the first marine reserve on the Oregon coast.

    David Milarch and his life-long efforts to re-forest the world are the subject of a new book by New York Times science writer Jim Robbins entitled “The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet”. This book has documented David Milarch’s mission to clone the champion trees of the world –- the largest, the hardiest, the ones that have survived millennia and are the most resilient to climate change — and create a kind of Noah’s ark of tree genetics. Initially, many scientists and tree experts said it couldn’t be done, but, now David’s team has successfully cloned some the world’s oldest trees –- including giant redwoods and sequoias. Among the dozens of unique individual tree clones to be planted in the first forest will be a duplicate of the Fieldbrook Redwood –- a giant cut down years ago which measured 32.5 feet in trunk diameter and would surpass the General Sherman Sequoia as the largest tree on Earth.

    In addition to preserving champion tree genetics for future research, this old growth forest restoration is an integral part of an approved forest stewardship plan that will provide a focal point for ongoing model sustainability initiatives within the local community stewardship area and surrounding Curry County, Oregon — an economically depressed region that is, nonetheless, a rare place on earth where beautiful wild and scenic rivers tumble down through steep canyons and the tallest and largest carbon-sequestering forests in the world on their way to the mighty Pacific Ocean.

    “It’s amazing for one layman to come up with the idea of saving champion trees as a meaningful way to address the issues of biodiversity and climate change. This could be a grass roots solution to a global problem. A few million people selecting and planting the right trees for the right places could really make a difference.” — Dr. Rama Nemani, Earth Scientist.

    1. “Assisted migration”: The practice of deliberately populating members of a species from their present habitat to a new region with the intent of establishing a permanent presence there, generally in response to the degradation of the natural habitat due to human action. The human action most frequently considered is climate change, but assisted migration can be in response to habitat loss or other impacts to historic range ( ).

      Ocean Mountain Ranch has been selected as the first archival planting site to further the mission of developing a sustainable Oregon coast based on scientific projections about coming climate change and the need for assisted migration for redwood and sequoia species, more fully described here:

      Why an eccentric band of tree lovers is cloning an ancient forest …
      Cloning the mighty redwoods

      “What’s alarming is not the amount of change that’s predicted as much as the speed with which it’s happening,” says Sally Aitken, a forest geneticist at the University of British Columbia who is not involved with Archangel.

      Climate models show that for trees in North America to stay in their environmental comfort zone, to which they are currently adapted, they would have to migrate 700 kilometres over 70 years. But studies from the last ice age have estimated how fast trees can migrate. “They can only shift their range at about 100 metres a year” to survive the climate change under way, Dr. Aitken says. Redwoods, in particular, live in what scientists call a “narrow climatic niche.” The concern has led to widespread discussion in policy and academic circles, leading many to support “assisted migration” – humans helping trees move. Some scientists warn that assisted migrations that are too extreme put other trees at risk. Nonetheless, Mr. Milarch’s vision is to reforest parts of the world with cloned ancient redwoods. (The species, grown from seed, has been planted with success in parts of the world, including Australia and New Zealand.) Most redwoods live 1,000 years, and only a few live 2,000 to 3,000 years, and that’s why Archangel wants to use their clones for reforestation. Some scientists question whether it’s the genetics of ancient trees or simply the superior environment in which they happen to grow that causes their longevity. But in an effort to be thorough and cautious, Archangel has cloned ancient coastal redwoods and giant sequoias (their cousins) across the full range of their habitats – from the coldest extreme to the hottest and driest.

      “It’s an interesting, though unproven, idea that trees that have gotten very big or very old have some very special qualities for lasting over long periods of time in substantial swings in climate,” says William J. Libby, a global expert on clonal forestry and professor emeritus at University of California, Berkeley, who acts as a consultant for Archangel. “You can’t say that about any one tree, but if you gather 100 such trees, it’s pretty likely that you have some trees that are better able to do that than just your average tree.” In wanting to ensure the preservation of the species, Mr. Milarch points to the stellar environmental skills of redwoods and the fact that they grow quickly for their first 800 years, at which point they slow down. Large ones store huge amounts of carbon sucked from the air. The thick bark acts as a fire retardant, but even if they do burn down, the root system produces sprouts more quickly than most of the species that grow in the same habitat. Those attributes would come in handy in an increasingly carbon-emission-rich, hotter, dryer climate. And since they are a gentle species, not bullies quick to muscle out other kinds of trees in a competitive environment, they could use a little human help, some experts say.

      Despite the unknowns, many scientists agree with Dr. Aitken, who calls Archangel’s archiving of the genetics of ancient redwoods a “very useful tool.” The uncertainty around climate change makes the preservation of genetic diversity “an insurance policy”

  8. Climate Disruption: Earth’s Forests Calling — S.O.S
    Posted: 11/26/2012
    By Dr. Reese Halter

    Frighteningly, Earth’s forests are dying from a warming world. Will the delegates from 194 countries attending the Doha climate talks acknowledge this and what nature is unequivocally showing atmospheric, biologic and oceanic scientists?

    Last week researchers once again sent an S.O.S distress call to denizens of Earth — drought conditions are placing deadly water-stress on forests around the globe. Moreover, Earth’s forests and myriad ‘ecosystem services’ that they provide all life — are approaching an irreversible tipping point…

  9. Ancient redwoods, giant sequoias to be ‘archived’ on Oregon coast
    By Scott Learn, The Oregonian
    November 26, 2012

    Around 1890, loggers chopped down a coast redwood near Eureka, Calif., creating one of the world’s largest stumps: 32.5 feet wide at chest height, probably 2,000 years old, a base for a tree that may have topped 400 feet.

    Next Tuesday, Archangel Ancient Tree Archive will plant clones grown from the Fieldbrook stump — along with other rooted cuttings from 28 of California’s largest, oldest coast redwoods and giant sequoias — on four foggy acres south of Port Orford.

    The planting is Archangel’s first attempt to re-create an old-growth forest from its Noah’s Ark storehouse of rooted cuttings from “champion” trees, the tallest, oldest and largest samples of each species it can find. The group picked Port Orford, just north of the coast redwood’s main range, as a hedge in case global warming weakens the trees down south…

  10. Giant sequoia takes over as world’s second biggest tree
    By Tracy Cone, The Associated Press

    The new No. 2 is The President, a 54,000-cubic-foot gargantuan not far from the Grant in Sequoia National Park. After 3,240 years, the giant sequoia still is growing wider at a consistent rate, which may be what most surprised the scientists examining how the sequoias and coastal redwoods will be affected by climate change and whether these trees have a role to play in combatting it.

    “I consider it to be the greatest tree in all of the mountains of the world,” said Stephen Sillett, a redwood researcher whose team from Humboldt State University is seeking to mathematically assess the potential of California’s iconic trees to absorb planet warming carbon dioxide.

    The researchers are a part of the 10-year Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative funded by the Save the Redwoods League in San Francisco. The measurements of The President, reported in the current National Geographic, dispelled the previous notion that the big trees grow more slowly in old age.

    It means, the experts say, the amount of carbon dioxide they absorb during photosynthesis continues to increase over their lifetimes…

  11. Climate 2013: Perspectives of 8 Scientists
    Dec 19, 2012

    Peter Sinclair captures the views of eight scientists representing some of the nation’s leading research institutions in a concise video newly produced for The Yale Forum…

  12. January 11, 2013
    Draft Federal Advisory Committee Climate Assessment Report Released for Public Review

    The “National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee” (NCADAC) has overseen the development of this draft climate assessment report, engaging over 240 authors in its creation. Click here to access the report:

  13. Is it time to talk about geoengineering our way out of climate change?

    “Progressives and environmentalists should embrace research into geoengineering, if for no other reason than to assure that it is done right. There’s another reason: at some point conservatives, or at least their corporate supporters, will wake up to the fact that big money can be made in geoengineering and suddenly change their tune.”

  14. Long Beach Press-Telegram
    Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is keeping the legacy of plants alive with cloning
    By Michelle J. Mills, Staff Writer
    Posted: 03/04/2013

    “Milarch credits Robbins’ book to helping raise awareness about Archangel, which in turn has helped with getting funding. Most recently, the organization planted an old-redwood forest in Oregon from cloned trees.”

  15. Tropical forests unexpectedly resilient to climate change
    Models predict that forests such as the Amazon will keep carbon locked up until 2100.

    Nature | News –

    10 March 2013

    Trees in rainforests, such as these in the Ecuadorian Amazon, might end up absorbing as much carbon as they release because of global warming.

    Tropical forests are unlikely to die off as a result of the predicted rise in atmospheric
    greenhouse gases this century, a new study finds. The analysis refutes previous work that predicted the catastrophic loss of the Amazon rainforest as one of the more startling potential outcomes of climate change….

    That tropical forests will retain their carbon stocks long term gives a major boost to
    policies aimed at keeping forests intact, such as the United Nations’ REDD programme
    on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

    But, warns Nepstad, there may be more immediate threats to forests in the next 20 to 30
    years from extreme weather events. And those events will only become more common in a warming world.

  16. NASA News Release
    March 10, 2013

    Amplified Greenhouse Effect Shifts North’s Growing Seasons

    WASHINGTON — Vegetation growth at Earth’s northern latitudes increasingly resembles lusher latitudes to the south, according to a NASA-funded study based on a 30-year record of land surface and newly improved satellite data sets.

    An international team of university and NASA scientists examined the relationship between changes in surface temperature and vegetation growth from 45 degrees north latitude to the Arctic Ocean. Results show temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those found 4 degrees to 6 degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 1982….

    As a result of enhanced warming and a longer growing season, large patches of vigorously productive vegetation now span a third of the northern landscape, or more than 3.5 million square miles (9 million square kilometers). That is an area about equal to the contiguous UnitedStates. This landscape resembles what was found 250 to 430 miles (400 to 700 kilometers) to the south in 1982.

    “It’s like Winnipeg, Manitoba, moving to Minneapolis-Saint Paul in only 30 years,” said
    co-author Compton Tucker of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

    The Arctic’s greenness is visible on the ground as an increasing abundance of tall shrubs and trees in locations all over the circumpolar Arctic. Greening in the adjacent boreal areas is more pronounced in Eurasia than in North America.

    An amplified greenhouse effect is driving the changes, according to Myneni. Increased concentrations of heat-trapping gasses, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane, cause Earth’s surface, ocean and lower atmosphere to warm. Warming reduces the extent of polar sea ice and snow cover, and, in turn, the darker ocean and land surfaces absorb more solar energy, thus further heating the air above them.

    “This sets in motion a cycle of positive reinforcement between warming and loss of sea ice and snow cover, which we call the amplified greenhouse effect,” Myneni said. “The greenhouse effect could be further amplified in the future as soils in the north thaw, releasing potentially significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane”….

  17. A Big Man with A Big Vision: Talking About David Milarch and the “The Man Who Planted Trees”
    February 22, 2013

    ….More and more the people who amaze me are the people who try and attempt
    really big things, without any big payoff at the end of the rainbow. These people see a cause that is important and despite the risks, they act on faith, move forward and put themselves on the line. David Milarch is one such figure. Milarch is largely the focus of the book “The Man Who Planted Trees” written by Jim Robbins…..

  18. Mother Trees Connect the Forest

    In this real-life model of forest resilience and regeneration, Professor Suzanne Simard shows that all trees in a forest ecosystem are interconnected, with the largest, oldest, “mother trees” serving as hubs. The underground exchange of nutrients increases the survival of younger trees linked into the network of old trees. Amazingly, we find
    that in a forest, 1+1 equals more than 2.

  19. Global Earth Day Planting Event
    On April 20, 2013 · By Bill Latka

    This Earth Day, Archangel will release into the world its collection of clones from the greatest coast redwood trees that have ever lived in an historic first ever global planting of champion coast redwoods to begin to rebuild healthy forests.The coast redwood clones will be planted at nine locations on Earth Day in seven countries: Germany, Ireland, Wales, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and in United States – California & Oregon. Locating these trees in multiple locations worldwide will help to ensure their chance of long-term survival in the face of climate change….

  20. “Researchers at Oregon State University recently outlined the latest findings on…. height growth in trees through genetic modification, and concluded that several advantageous growth traits could be achieved for short-rotation forestry, bioenergy, or more efficient water use in a drier, future climate….. Research now makes it clear that genetic modification of height growth is achievable…. We understand the genes and hormones that control growth not only in crop plants, but also in trees. They are largely the same…. They described 29 genetic traits that were affected, including growth rate, biomass
    production, branching, water-use efficiency, and root structure….. Scientists could
    also produce trees that might have a larger root mass, which should make them more drought-resistant, increase water use efficiency, increase elimination of soil toxins and better sequester carbon. This could be useful for greenhouse gas mitigation, bioremediation or erosion control….”

  21. Michigan Radio – NPR Network
    Slowing down climate change, one cloned tree at a time
    August 28, 2013

    David Milarch co-founded Archangel Ancient Tree Archive in 2008.

    His vision?

    To spread the genetics of the world’s remaining ancient forests. His work attracted the attention of journalist and science writer Jim Robbins, and the result was the book ‘The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet’.

    To listen to the interview, click here –

  22. Michigan Radio – NPR Network
    Slowing down climate change, one cloned tree at a time
    August 28, 2013

    David Milarch co-founded Archangel Ancient Tree Archive in 2008.

    His vision?

    To spread the genetics of the world’s remaining ancient forests. His work attracted the attention of journalist and science writer Jim Robbins, and the result was the book ‘The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet’.

    To listen to the interview, click here –

  23. THE TIMES (London)
    Giant trees could rise to the challenge of saving planet
    Rhys Blakely
    August 28 2013

    They were already among the oldest and largest living things on the planet but now California’s giant redwood and sequoia trees are in the midst of an unprecedented growth spurt.

    Old growth redwoods in northern California – some of which predate Christ – have produced more wood since the 1970s than in any other period in their lifespans, according to a new study. The spurt may be linked to global warming, which has meant less fog, more sunshine and greater levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, researchers said…

  24. The Detroit News (Front Page)
    September 7, 2013
    A savior of tree species: Life’s mission inspired by angel

    Copemish – — David Milarch believes he died and came back to life. And the reason was God had a mission for him.

    The mission was simple if grandiose: Clone the biggest trees and cover the world with them.

    The north Michigan nurseryman had little money, education or experience with cloning.

    Few people had ever tried to reproduce such old trees, which scientists said was improbable.

    Yet, in fits and starts, he has gradually cloned 140 species of trees across the United States, including ones that were 40 stories high and existed before Jesus was born.

    Several thousand trees are growing at his research facility 25 miles southwest of
    Traverse City. He has planted 10,000 for free in northern Michigan and California.

    His goal is to eventually plant enough trees to fight climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming…|topnews|img|FRONTPAGE

  25. Sustainable Plant
    Companies See Growing Risk of Climate Change but Lack Means to Manage It
    By Sustainable Plant Staff – August 5, 2013

    Most major companies see extreme weather and other climate change impacts as current or near-term business risks, but lack the data and tools needed to effectively assess and manage these risks, according to a report by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES)…. C2ES found that 90 percent of companies in the Standard and Poor’s Global 100 Index identify extreme weather and climate change as risks, and most have experienced climate impacts or expect to within 10 years. Top concerns include damage to facilities, loss of water or power supplies, higher costs, and disruption of supply and distribution chains…. Although most companies are well aware of these risks, relatively few are investing in resilience beyond “business as usual” because of a lack of information and tools to help them relate these risks to their specific business operations….


    – Create a clearinghouse for reliable, up-to-date data and analytical tools. Companies need user-friendly, localized projections of climate changes and models that link projections to impacts germane to company operations.

    – Invest in public infrastructure resilience. Companies rely on public resources, including roads, bridges, and ports, to get their goods and services to market and need these resources to withstand extreme weather and climate impacts.

    – Consider resilience needs in regulation. Companies in regulated sectors, such as water, electricity, and insurance, need regulators to be forward-looking and open to companies making the case for more spending on resilience.

    – Set up voluntary, public-private partnerships. Bringing together government and business expertise will improve resilience planning.

  26. Study in nature reveals urgent new time frame for climate change
    University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
    Oct 9, 2013 –

    The seesaw variability of global temperatures often engenders debate over how seriously we should take climate change. But within 35 years, even the lowest monthly dips in temperatures will be hotter than we’ve experienced in the past 150 years, according to a new and massive analysis of all climate models. The tropics will be the first to exceed the limits of historical extremes and experience an unabated heat wave
    that threatens biodiversity and heavily populated countries with the fewest resources to adapt….

  27. Los Angeles Times
    Giant sequoia planted by John Muir is cloned
    November 5, 2013

    Horticulturists announced Tuesday they had successfully cloned a genetic replica of an ailing 130-year-old giant sequoia planted by conservationist John Muir in the 1880s on his ranch in Martinez, Calif. And many more are apparently on the way, they say.

    If all goes according to plan, the first clone nurtured in a Michigan laboratory will be shipped within a year to California for planting at Muir’s homestead, which is now a national historic site about 35 miles northeast of San Francisco, said David Milarch, cofounder of the nonprofit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive….,0,6044358.story#tugs_story_display

  28. Framing Geoengineering Assessment –

    SLDI Comment:

    Thank you for stating the obvious problem with the geoengineering assessment currently: “Both of these (current) framings posit a central role for geoengineering in tackling climate change, concurrently marginalising legitimate alternatives. Accordingly, geoengineering assessments have largely excluded mitigation options and adaptation, placing the proposals in what can be termed ‘contextual isolation’.”

    And thank you for recognizing that: “Afforestation retains the coveted position of highest overall performance under affordability and safety, and timeliness and safety criteria (e, f).”

  29. Nature
    Tree growth never slows
    Idea debunked that young trees have the edge on their older siblings in carbon accumulation.
    Jeff Tollefson – 15 January 2014

    Many foresters have long assumed that trees gradually lose their vigour as they mature, but a new analysis suggests that the larger a tree gets,the more kilos of carbon it puts on each year.

    “The trees that are adding the most mass are the biggest ones, and that holds pretty much everywhere on Earth that we looked,” says Nathan Stephenson, an ecologist at the US Geological Survey in Three Rivers, California, and the first author of the study, which appears today in Nature1. “Trees have the equivalent of an adolescent growth spurt, but it just keeps going.”

    The study has broad implications for forest management, whether in maximizing the yield of timber harvests or providing old-growth habitat and increasing carbon stocks….

    Nature World News
    Older Trees Grow Faster, Take Up More Carbon
    By James A. Foley – Jan 16, 2014 –

    “For reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, more big trees are better!”

    An Old Tree Doesn’t Get Taller, But Bulks Up Like A Body-Builder
    by Richard Harris – January 16, 2014 –

    “…the oldest members of the forest are doing the most to pull carbon dioxide out of the air and to store it as carbon in their wood.”

  30. Partnership Announced to Reverse Deforestation and Global Warming
    On February 17, 2014 ·

    Patented Carbon Technology and Champion Tree Genetics Combined for Earth Restoration

    Planetary Emissions Management, Inc. and non-profit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive announce an experimental partnership to test new patented systems to integrate unique carbon measuring and environmental financial products with genetics of the largest trees on Earth. Designed for replication on forest projects anywhere on the planet through a Forest Carbon Legacy Initiative, the first test of this unique technology combination will be at Ocean Mountain Ranch in Port Orford, OR, where the world’s first champion coast redwood and giant sequoia clone grove was successfully planted in December of 2012….

  31. IPCC: Climate Impacts ‘Are Very Evident, They’re Widespread’ And ‘We Are Not Prepared’
    Posted February 27, 2014 –
    By Joseph Romm

    ….The International Energy Agency informed as as far back as 2009 that “The world will have to spend an extra $500 billion to cut carbon emissions for each year it delays implementing a major assault on global warming.”

    “The time to act is now.”

  32. Video: Monitoring Atmospheric Carbon –

    Carbon and Champion Tree Genetics –

  33. New York Times – Science
    A Growth Spurt at 1,500 Years Old
    MARCH 17, 2014
    Carl Zimmer –

    Signy Island, which lies 375 miles off Antarctica, has too harsh an environment to support a single tree. Its mountains are girdled instead by banks of moss.

    … The deepest layer in which the resuscitated moss grew was three and a half feet below the surface. Based on radiocarbon tests, as they report in the journal Current Biology, the revived moss turned out to be more than 1,500 years old. It’s been in a state of suspended animation, in other words, since the age of King Arthur.

    Dr. Convey’s study is one of a series of recent experiments in which scientists have revived organisms — viruses, bacteria, plants, animals — that have been dormant for hundreds, thousands, even millions of years. As more ancient species are revived, some scientists are using them to get glimpses of the past and hints about the future. They’ve labeled this research “resurrection ecology.”

    … In some cases, organisms may naturally revive after thousands of years without scientists’ help. And it’s possible that they play an important role in their ecosystems.

    At the end of each ice age, for example, retreating glaciers leave behind bare ground that develops into new ecosystems. Dr. Convey wonders if moss, and perhaps other species, may survive under the ice for thousands of years and revive when the glaciers melt. “That gives you a very different way of understanding the biodiversity of a region,” he said.

    Lovelock a Lone Voice for the Lone Scientist
    Kate Henderson – March 26, 2014.

    … Lovelock, who invented the Gaia Theory, has spent much of his lifetime working as a lone unit. In fact, of his 70 years in science, he has spent 56 of them alone. He does not argue against the necessity of large teams, rather that there must be space for both, the teams and the loners, to create optimum conditions for discovery….

  35. SFGate
    Noah the Movie
    March 28, 2014

    “Noah” is no silly action blockbuster with a biblical pretext… It posits a vision of humanity gone astray, in which those on the side of the Creator are pitted against those opposed to the divine will… In Aronofsky’s telling, humanity went in two directions after the murder of Abel by Cain. The godless sons of Cain went off and created the industrial world, raping the Earth. They became warriors, fashioned metal weapons and began eating animals. They ignored the demands of stewardship and stressed only their dominion over the Earth and other living creatures. Meanwhile, the virtuous sons of Seth lived off the land, in harmony with creation… Things are looking hopeless when Noah (Russell Crowe) has a curious dream in which he envisions the destruction of the world…

    1. Brain Pickings

      George Lucas on the Meaning of Life
      by Maria Popova

      … one of the most profound answers comes from legendary Star Wars director George Lucas. In The Meaning of Life: Reflections in Words and Pictures on Why We Are Here — that remarkable 1991 anthology that gave us timeless meditations on existence
      from a number of luminaries — Lucas uses an autobiographical anecdote
      as the springboard for a larger meditation on the meaning of life and
      our best chance for reaching its fullest potential:

      “When I was eighteen I was in an automobile accident and
      went through a near-death experience. I was actually taken away from the
      scene, presumed dead, and it wasn’t until I reached the hospital that
      the doctors revived my heartbeat and brought me back to life. This is
      the kind of experience that molds people’s beliefs. But I have found
      that most of my conclusions have evolved from observing life since that

      “… It is possible that on a spiritual level we are all
      connected in a way that continues beyond the comings and goings of
      various life forms. My best guess is that we share a collective spirit
      or life force or consciousness that encompasses and goes beyond
      individual life forms. There’s a part of us that connects to other
      humans, connects to other animals, connects to plants, connects to the
      planet, connects to the universe. I don’t think we can understand it
      through any kind of verbal, written or intellectual means. But I do
      believe that we all know this, even if it is on a level beyond our
      normal conscious thoughts.

      “… If we have a meaningful place in this process, it is to try to fit
      into a healthy, symbiotic relationship with other life force. Everybody,
      ultimately, is trying to reach a harmony with the other parts of the
      life force. And in trying to figure out what life is all about, we
      ultimately come down to expressions of compassion and love, helping the
      rest of the life force, caring about others without any conditions or
      expectations, without expecting to get anything in return. This is
      expressed in every religion, by every prophet.

    As globe warms, adapt and mitigate: Our view
    The Editorial Board – April 1, 2014

    As a piece of literature, the latest report from the United Nations’ expert organization on climate change is no John Grisham page-turner. Pulled together by 309 authors and editors from 70 countries, the document released this week brings to mind the saying about a camel being a horse designed by committee.

    Despite the turgid prose, excessive acronyms and bewildering flow charts, the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes an important contribution, most notably with its new emphasis on adaptation….

  37. ​Washington Post​
    The eastern United States: A lonely cold pocket on a feverish planet
    By Jason Samenow – ​April 16

    NASA’s map of March temperatures around the globe is covered in orange and red, indicative of temperatures well above the norm and symptomatic of a planet running a fever for over 29 years. Yet various shades of blue light up eastern North America shivering under a cold regime which seized control in January…

  38. JAKE ALLEN – 4/17/14

    NEW PURPOSE DRIVEN JAKE ALLEN RELEASE AVAILABLE NOW: In 1988 my father, Allen Bondar, wrote and recorded a rock song about mankind’s transgressions against Mother Nature. The song, “Mom,” was a male/female duet with the female being Mother Nature herself and the male being a spectator of the destruction. Many people connected with the song including myself. One fan even wrote a Broadway inspired screenplay around the song catering to its theatrical nature. I always wanted to record and produce my own version of “Mom” so this year I decided it was time. Dharma Record’s artist Penny Jean joined me on the track singing the part of Mother Nature. With Dharma Record’s support I have released this song on all major online music retailing sites. All of the proceeds from the downloads of “Mom” will be donated to Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, a Michigan based environmental restoration non-profit. They specialize in cloning, planting and preserving old growth trees all around the world. Learn more about them here:

    Please click on this link ( to download the song from iTunes and make a positive impact on our planet by helping our important old growth forests thrive for generations to come. Thank you for the support, – Jake

  39. Lawn & Landscape – Industry News
    Historic “Great Trees” return to NYC
    Genetic clones of trees in Central Park will be planted there on May 1.
    April 30, 2014

    … The Central Park project, sponsored by the TREE Fund, Bartlett Tree Experts and the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) exemplifies how advances in tree science have changed the landscape for tree preservation. In addition to protecting the existing tree canopy, urban forestry in the 21st century allows for preservation of the genetic material of culturally and environmentally significant trees to ensure that they are not lost forever. Additional support for the project was provided by the Coleman Company, Inc., Marmot Mountain LLC and David Milarch, co-founder of the Champion Tree Project International…

  40. Michigan Environmental Report – Winter 2014
    Michigan’s Archangel Ancient Tree Archive drawing national notice
    Tiny nonprofit has lofty goal

    For a tiny nonprofit headquartered in the northern Michigan village of Copemish, the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive sure gets a lot of ink. The group has received in-depth coverage in The New York Times, on NPR and just about any other major media outlet you’d care to mention. Reporters are intrigued by the little nonprofit’s lofty goal—preserve the world’s forests by traveling the globe to clone Earth’s biggest, strongest trees and replant them where their genetics will thrive…

  41. The Oldest Living Things In The World
    –by Maria Popova, syndicated from, May 29, 2014

    For nearly a decade, Brooklyn-based artist, photographer, and Guggenheim Fellow Rachel Sussman has been traveling the globe to discover and document its oldest organisms — living things over 2,000 years of age. Her breathtaking photographs and illuminating essays are now collected in The Oldest Living Things in the World (public library) — beautiful and powerful work at the intersection of fine art, science, and philosophy, spanning seven continents and exploring issues of deep time, permanence and impermanence, and the interconnectedness of life…

  42. PBS from Michigan State University
    Michigan environmentalist champions reforesting with old growth trees
    June 24, 2014

    This weekend, the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association will hold its 10th annual Michigan Energy Fair at the Ingham County Fairgrounds. There will be exhibitions and workshops on energy efficiency, alternative energy, and sustainable living practices.

    Current State’s Scott Pohl speaks with the fair’s keynote speaker, David Milarch, co-founder of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. Milarch’s stated goals are to propagate old growth trees before they’re gone, archive the genetics of ancient trees, and reforest the earth…

  43. Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies
    Geoengineering as a Human Right
    Kris Notaro
    Jul 10, 2014

    … While my favorites are genetically modified supertrees, artificial mechanical trees that take CO2 out of the air, and perhaps space mirrors, I would like to argue that we must try all and every kind of geoengineering, but with policy and foresight if we can…

  44. Bandon World – August 7, 2014
    City Park will Go Native

    BANDON, OR — One hundred seventy-five coastal redwood trees will enjoy the hospitality of Bandon’s new Go Native greenhouse this summer. In collaboration with the city of Bandon and Bandon schools, Go Native students participants will repot and tend the trees, then help with fall planting in the city park and other areas of town.

    “The trees belong to the city of Bandon, so that’s a great collaboration,” said Darcy Grahek.

    Grahek leads Bandon High School students for the Go Native project. She is the
    Bandon School District’s Indian Education coordinator and an experienced commercial gardener. The Go Native project is all about promoting eco-friendly native plants while teaching students practical gardening and landscaping skills. The greenhouse and nursery are located on Eighth Street, adjacent to the high school. With the redwoods, students will see firsthand how the trees thrive in varied microclimates around town.

    “I’m learning too,” said Grahek.

    The redwood saplings were cultivated by the nonprofit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive in Michigan and given to the city by an anonymous donor who requested the trees be planted on the Oregon Coast. The donation was facilitated by Terry Mock, who initiated a reforestation project on his own Port Orford property with redwoods from the Archangel Archive….

  45. The New York Times
    Tall, Ancient and Under Pressure
    By JIM ROBBINS – AUG. 11, 2014

    SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — High in the Sierras, biologists are struggling
    to find ways to protect some of the world’s oldest and most storied trees from drought, forest fires and climate change.

    The trees are the giant sequoias, some of them 2,000 to 3,000 years old, and they are just one of several ancient Western species, including redwoods and bristlecone pines, that face a daunting future.

    Although the sequoias are not at immediate risk, even from California’s current drought,scientists say they were not built to withstand decades of dry and warming weather. Their seedlings and saplings are susceptible to fires, which are likely to increase, especially at higher elevations. And if the drought persists, the lack of melting snow may keep the seedlings from developing a robust root system.

    “If there’s long-term drought, within 25 years, we could see seedlings in trouble,” said Nathan Stephenson, an ecologist with the United States Geological Survey. “In 50 years, the whole population could be in trouble,” he went on, and within a century “most of the big trees could be gone”….

    Full article & video –

    Earth Angel
    By Jennifer
    August 13, 2014

    Before the age of eight, I spent a lot of time up a tree in our yard. I wanted to live there. I’d drag pillows and blankets up and would only reluctantly climb down for dinner and bed with my hair full of sap. I hadn’t recalled this memory for some time until I walked into the
    Archangel Ancient Tree Archive office in Copemish, Michigan, for my meeting with David Milarch. Normally, I would have my questions ready, phone poised to record – but this time, I didn’t even reach into my bag for phone for the few questions that I had managed to jot down. I immediately sensed that this experience would be different…

  47. GLOBAL Climate Change News
    Why we need to stop talking about ‘geoengineering’
    Lumping all ‘geoengineering’ techniques under one label risks making sensible options guilty by association
    27 August 2014 –

    … There are a large number of interventions that can be taken by different human actors and institutions at different scales to slow and reduce the consequences of human actions for the climate. They each yield different risks and benefits and they each carry different political and ethical implications.

    Just as we should discriminate between different types of ‘climate action’ – nuclear energy vs solar or carbon taxes vs carbon trading – so too we should discriminate between the different technologies that are still too frequently lumped together under ‘geoengineering’. A spade should be called a spade; an apple called an apple…

    NASA Scientists Tell of “Dramatic” Planetary Changes
    08 September 2014
    By Dahr Jamail

    … Truthout recently spoke with several NASA-affiliated scientists about what they are seeing.

    One of them, Dr. Phil Townsend, a professor of Forest and Wildlife Ecology who helps train astronauts in spotting ACD indicators as they look down from the International Space Station (ISS), noted that we must ready ourselves to confront “a planet that looks quite a bit different.”

    … “That means the environment, after a disturbance has occurred, for a new generation of plants to come in there may be completely different from what was there before,” he said.

    “So think of it. Trees get established over hundreds of years, then climate may change, but once they are established they can survive a whole range of conditions. But if conditions change all of the sudden, and at the same time you remove the ecosystems that have been there, the ecosystems that come back may in fact not at all look like the ecosystem that was there originally”…

  49. The StarPhoenix
    Soft geoengineering could mitigate climate change
    By Paul Hanley – October 28, 2014

    The American soil scientist Rattan Lal and others argue that restoring
    vegetation on degraded lands and increasing soil organic carbon (SOC) on
    existing farmland has the potential to sequester sufficient CO2 to
    substantially mitigate climate change if done on a large scale. This
    form of “soft geoengineering” is a safe, win-win solution, since land
    restoration and soil improvement also restore watersheds, foster
    biodiversity, improve productivity and assist with rural poverty

    The potential to reduce climate change by sequestering atmospheric C02 in soil and vegetation is huge…

    Jurassic bark: ancient Irish trees brought back to life
    From the scattered remnants, Ireland’s oldest oak trees are being revived as part of a global initiative to propagate the DNA of ancient woodland
    By Darragh Murphy – October 28, 2014

    … The oak saplings have come via the Archangel Project, a worldwide effort to propagate the DNA of ancient forests, from ancient Ireland to ancient Greece. As the oaks are direct descendants of the ancient Irish forests that flourished after the Ice Age, they contain the genetic material best equipped to thrive on our shores…

  51. The Guardian
    Geoengineering: the ethical problems with cleaning the air
    Intervening in climate change currently raises more questions than answers when it comes to manipulating the atmosphere
    By Nicola Davis –
    6 November 2014

    … How would we capture CO2? – Oceans and land take a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere each year. There are ideas to try to make those processes happen more quickly [for example, by planting more trees].

    Watering a seedling in Kenya. Planting trees takes carbon out of the atmosphere…

  52. ​GV Ford Team ‘Going Further’
    The Grand Valley State University Ford Team present their video of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive’s story of going further to inspire others to find their passion to go further as well. Share this video with friends, family, co-workers, students, and staff to educate, inspire, and build a brighter future…

  53. INDIEGOGO Crowdfunding Campaign
    Saving the Planet: Big Trees. Big Impact.
    Plant 2,000 Second Generation Champion Coast Redwood Trees
    December 1, 2014

    What if you could make a difference and help save our place on the planet today? What
    if the future of your children, their children, and your great-grandchildren was dependent on your making the right choice…right here, right now? Would you do it?

  54. Eight out of 10 Americans Now Believe the Climate is Changing, According to Munich Re America’s Inaugural 2014 Climate Change Barometer Survey
    December 02, 2014 –

    PRINCETON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Of the 1,000-plus Americans surveyed, 83 percent believe that climate change is occurring. 63 percent are concerned about changes in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. From a regional perspective, Americans living in the Northeast are more concerned (71 percent) about changes in the severity of weather events than those living in the West (65 percent), Midwest (60 percent), and South (59 percent).

    “Driving adaptation and mitigation efforts will require a persistent public-private effort that spans the insurance industry, government agencies, and the American public. A critical step in this process is to continually bring relevant information to the forefront and to promote an open and robust discussion about solutions.”

    “Our survey findings indicate that national sentiment over whether or
    not climatic changes are occurring has finally reached a tipping point,”
    said Tony Kuczinski, President and CEO of Munich Re America.


    Planet Reboot: Fighting Climate Change With Geoengineering

    By Erin Biba / December 4, 2014 –

    “It’s not crazy to think humans could come up with ways to change the
    makeup of the planet; after all, humans have already reengineered the
    Earth by accident. Across the planet we’ve torn down carbon-capturing
    forests to make room for farms, so we could feed our growing
    populations. And David Edwards, a professor of conservation science at
    the University of Sheffield, is starting to think that one of the best
    ways to geoengineer the planet is to figure out a way to bring those
    forests back.”

  56. Outreach – Dec 12, 2014
    UNFCCC is a death sentence for coral reefs and low islands: The down to earth solution to reverse climate change
    Thomas J. Goreau, Global Coral Reef Alliance

    …Photosynthesis, along with carbon storage using ancient Indigenous Amazonian Indian biochar technology, could absorb the excess in a few decades, greatly increasing soil fertility, retaining nutrients, minerals, and water. Increased soil carbon greatly increases food production, forestry, and groundwater recharge, reduces temperature, and produces carbon-negative biomass energy while reducing CO2. Large scale restoration of ecosystems and soils is the only way we can remove the carbon from where it is doing the most damage, and put it back in the ground where it does the most good – just in time to save coral reefs, islands, and low lying coasts from extinction. But, incredibly, it is
    not even being discussed at COP20…

    California’s Forests: Where Have All the Big Trees Gone?
    They’ve gone to logging and housing—but especially to climate change, says a new study

    “The loss of these majestic largest trees is a pretty emotionally powerful thing to think about,” said Anderegg. “These are often the trees that have been around for thousands of years. It’s kind of a less magical future having lost those trees.”Beyond their romantic grandeur, big trees play an outsized ecological role. They produce more seeds, resist wildfire damage, and store more carbon than their smaller brethren…

    If Earth falls, will interstellar space travel be our salvation?
    January 22, 2015

    Some climatologists argue it may be too late to reverse climate change, and it’s just a matter of time before the Earth becomes uninhabitable – if hundreds of years from now. The recent movie Interstellar raised the notion that we may one day have to escape a dying planet. As astrophysicists and avid science fiction fans, we naturally find the prospect of interstellar colonization intriguing and exciting. But is it practical, or even possible? Or is there a better solution?…

  59. Bloomberg
    Scientists Seeking to Save World Find Best Technology Is Trees
    by Louise Downing
    February 2, 2015

    Oxford University scientists, after a year of research, have determined the best technology to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and try to reverse global warming.

    It’s trees.

    They considered methods ranging from capturing emissions from factories and power stations to extracting carbon dioxide directly from the air, and adding lime to oceans to increase their absorption of the gas, a study released on Tuesday showed. (

    None were more promising than planting trees…

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