Raging wildfires in 2020 transformed Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County from a towering forested cathedral into a standing boneyard with some of the oldest trees on the planet seemingly burned beyond survival.

But soon after the flames were gone, California’s coast redwoods began calling upon a remarkable energy storage system helping these trees survive even after fires burned away every life-sustaining green needle.

Scientists now have an idea about just how far back these reserves go. Researchers studying a stand of severely burned old growth Big Basin redwoods found the trees fed ancient buds that had been hiding underneath thick bark for more than 1,000 years using carbon transformed into sugars with sunlight that shone more than a half-century ago.

  • @NounsAndWords
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    134 months ago

    the trees fed ancient buds that had been hiding underneath thick bark for more than 1,000 years

    So as long as there aren’t any massive forest fires in the next 1,000 years they should be able to restock their reserve energy and we should be good…

    • @Everythingispenguins
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      164 months ago

      Well probably a lot less than that. It will be a long time before a heavy enough fuel load exists there for another fire of this magnitude. It might only take a few decades for the trees to fully recover.

    • HobbitFoot
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      104 months ago

      Redwood forests are supposed to burn every once in a while. The problem is if too much energy are available to burn.

    • QuinceDaPence
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      84 months ago

      Since that area has burned it should be more fire resistant for a while.

      Live standing trees themselves don’t really burn that well. It’s all the shit on the ground and when there’s too much it can get hot enough to actually burn the trees. This is why regular smaller controlled burns are good.

      Also sounds like it was only 50 years for the current ‘energy stored’.