Friday, June 13, 2008

The Wild Trees

Just finished this book, written by Richard Preston. I really liked his earlier book, "The Hot Zone" (about the spread of deadly viruses--nonfiction, written like a thriller).

This time out he opens up a whole new world talking about the largest and tallest organisms in the world--the coastal redwood trees. Yes, this is non-fiction folks, but he writes it like an interesting novel.

I have always loved trees...wouldn't want to live anywhere that was too flat and didn't have them. Reminds me of an old Seneca saying:

"When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of the place, and the awful gloom of this doomed cavern then strike you with the presence of a deity?"

I learned so many things about these giants that have been there for thousands of years.

  • The seeds of a redwood are released from cones that are about the size of olives.

  • Rain forest is forest that gets at least 80 inches of rain a year.

  • The California coast redwood is the tallest species of tree on earth. They range frm 350-380 feet high (35-38 stories tall)

  • The tallest trees are often not necessarily the largest

  • The main trunk of a redwood titan can be 30 feet in diameter

  • These trees could be 2,000 to 3,000 years old

  • The largest tree by volume of wood is the giant sequoia

  • The world's largest living thing is a giant sequoia named the General Sherman. It is 27 feet in diameter and 275 feet tall

And I guess what I find really amazing is that even now there are places on this planet that have never been charted or touched by human hands or feet. Wow!

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