Old-growth Forests: Making a Comeback at Teravana

June 1, 2023

By Michael Collins, Teravana

Michael has worked as Grants Manager since 2021 and Strives to tell Teravana’s story to the world. 

As a nonprofit for restoration, Teravana is answering the question: What can we do to ensure the survival of our oldest and largest trees and, at the same time, benefit other forests?

Imagine millions of years ago when much of the Northern Hemisphere was populated by old-growth forests—home to redwoods and sequoias, respectively, the tallest and widest trees on the planet. 

Today, human influence, disease and wildfires have almost wiped out these treasures. Coast redwoods and giant sequoias, found mainly in California, Oregon and Washington, are now considered endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

teravana living library

Teravana is joining forces with the internationally-renowned Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (AATA) to see what can be done. Archangel is replanting and rebuilding the world’s first old-growth forests. Their early experimentation with propagation led to scientific success in regenerating some of the oldest and largest trees, an accomplishment the scientific community had thought impossible. 

So far, over 300 redwoods and sequoias, propagated in Archangel’s home base in Copemish, Michigan, have been planted at Teravana. The anticipation is that these young trees, and more to follow, will thrive in Cazadero’s lush climate, a town known as the Land of Redwoods and Rain. 

But it makes sense to question what kind of impact the project will have: why plant trees at Teravana? Side-by-side, both groups envision planting redwoods and sequoias and a diverse set of native trees alongside the giant chaparral, giant Madrone and Manzanita already standing at Teravana to create a living archive. As the genes of these ancient and wise trees take hold in the soil, they will enhance climate resilience and benefit the health and ecology of the entire forest. 

But there is an even bigger payoff! The model forest will show that these trees planted alongside native species play a vital role in restoring and diversifying habitat, preventing wildfire and restoring the watershed. The Living Library will allow for learning and iteration on how best to care for and restore habitat and will be replicable throughout Northern California and beyond. 

As part of the vision, local youth and community groups will participate in the project. Garden and science teachers will gather at Teravana to learn about Tree School, returning to students with a curriculum about different types of trees, how to propagate or take apart a tree and induce its roots, how to care for trees in the early stage and how to plant and maintain a tree. Supporting more people (especially young people) to understand the importance of trees and forests and how to grow and plant trees will lead to a positive global environmental impact. 

Stay tuned for future updates from Teravana as the Living Library takes on its identity.


“Top 10 Facts About Redwood Trees.” Semperivens Fund. https://sempervirens.org/learn/redwood-facts/

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