Giant Sequoia Tree 'The
President' Tops 'General Grant'
Condensed by Native Village
California: Deep in the
Sierra Nevada, the famous
General Grant giant sequoia tree
is suffering a loss of stature.
It was once was the
world's No. 2 biggest tree.
Now, thanks to new measurements
taken of the largest living
things on Earth, things have
The new No. 2 is The President,
not far from the Grant in Sequoia National Park. After
The President is still growing wider at a
steady rate. This surprised
scientists who are examining how
sequoias and coastal redwoods
are affected by climate
change and if these trees can
help combat it.
Scientist Steve Sillett’s new
studies have yielded
revelations, including this: these old trees are still
"I consider (redwoods) to be the
greatest tree in all of the
mountains of the world," Sillett
said. His team from
Humboldt State University is
seeking to mathematically assess
the potential of redwoods to absorb
planet-warming carbon dioxide.
The President's measurements
dispels the notion
that redwoods grow more
slowly in old age. That means
the amount of carbon dioxide
redwoods absorb during
photosynthesis increases as the
The President adds about
one cubic meter of wood a year
during its short six-month
growing season. It's
might be the most of any
tree on the planet. This makes
it among the most
efficient at transforming carbon
dioxide into nourishing sugars
"We're not going to save the
world with any one strategy, but
part of the value of these great
trees is this contribution and
we're trying to get a handle on
the math behind that," Sillett
45,000 cubic feet
of volume in its branches
Has a large crown
with burly branches
as large as tree
This makes it
than General Grant.
into one-foot by one-foot cubes,
The President would cover a
Giant sequoias grow so big and
for so long because their wood
is resistant to the pests and
disease. Their thick
bark makes them impervious to
fast-moving fire. Such resiliency makes
sequoias and their taller
coastal redwood cousin worthy of
intensive protections and
Though sequoias are native to
California, early settlers
took seedlings back to
the British Isles and New
one of those seedlings was
planted in New Zealand. Today,
that sequoia has a 15-foot
and is the world's biggest planted tree.
The world's biggest tree is
2,000 cubic feet
volume than the President. But
to Sillett, it's not a contest.
"They're all superlative in
their own way," he said.
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