Coast Redwood – Summary of the 2,000 Trees Over 100 Meters in Height

1      Coast Redwood – The 100 Meter Tree

The only known tree species with living 100 meter specimens is the coast redwood.  There are five other species that exceed the 90 meter mark, but at the moment just coast redwoods have 100 meter class trees.

A few months ago I posted some details on 100 meter trees in Humboldt redwoods and from that inferred the total number of 100 meter redwoods in other parks based on some published information on the number of acres in each park capable of supporting 90 meter redwoods.  After further research and analysis, including processing many point cloud data sets, it is evident the number of 100 meter redwoods is around 2,000, not 5,000 as I previously posted.

2      100 Meter Trees in Northern Redwood Parks

 

Using Michael Taylor’s 2013 and 2015 tree height lists, the number of 105 meter trees in each redwood park can be determined with good accuracy.   Then for Humboldt Redwoods I have fairly complete LiDAR sourced information, either through data I processed myself using ArcGIS or via rendered maps.  So I used the association between 100 plus and 105 plus meter trees at Humboldt to estimate 100 plus meter trees in the three northern redwood parks.

This results in the following chart.  I have added the 100 meter tree data from other areas, with the source noted.

So there are 2,000 or so coast redwoods above 100 meters in height (328 feet).

100 Meter Plus Redwoods

 

3      100 Meter vs 100 Yard Redwood Trees

 

There are many, many redwood trees that exceed 100 yards (300 feet) in height.   At least 25,000.  So we have a pretty big drop off from 100 yard redwoods to 100 meter redwoods.  There are special conditions required for redwood trees to reach 100 meters.

For example, this is from NOAA LiDAR of the north tip of Orick Hill.  All the white dots are 300 foot redwoods, there are about 40.  But if this is changed to 100 meters (328 feet), there is only one dot left, and it is halfway up the hill toward the south end of this map.  What about the location of this tree enables it to get to 330 feet, versus everything downstream is between 300 and 330 feet.

Orick Hill NOAA LiDAR 300 foot trees (white dots)

Why this drop off, and what is required for a redwood to grow exceptionally tall?  One very interesting contributor is the ebb and flow of the marine fog layer.  Where the layer persists in the summer, height is suppressed.  Where the layer comes and goes daily in the summer, height is maximized.  Where the layer does not reach in the summer, height is again suppressed.   I will write more about this in the future.

Thanks for reading.

Redwoods Hiking June 2018

1      Humboldt Redwoods State Park

I spent an enjoyable Sunday in early June 2018 looking through the groves along the Avenue of the Giants, including Bolling, Kent, Federation, and Founders Groves.  There were a series of tall trees I wanted to locate in each of these groves and was successful, combining older clues involving groves and tree descriptions with newer information available on Open Topography LiDAR portal.  Finding the trees became a test of GPS navigation and inference, with a bit of range finder height measurements to confirm certain tall trees.

The Bolling Grove sits right by the Avenue.  The area of tall trees is very small, and the trunks are arranged in a pleasant pattern that recalls a sculpture garden.  Three of the four trees in the main grouping are over 100 meters.  Here you can see the rendered LiDAR point cloud data, where purple is 105 meters in height and red is 100 meters in height.

Bolling Grove processed LiDAR point cloud data, red is 100 meters, purple is 105 meters height

Then you can compare the LiDAR with the photo of the tree grouping.  The one in front is 100 meters, then the ones to back left (Bolling Stovepipe) and back right have crown points above 105 meters.

Bollling Grove – a sculptural garden of massive redwoods

 

The grove is dedicated to Colonel Raynal C. Bolling who was killed in action 100 years ago (March 2018) during World War I.

 

A little later in the day I hiked the Founders Grove trails.  There are many great trees all over this grove, with 200 or so trees in the grove over 100 meters in height.

Founders Grove – all purple circles are 100 meter redwoods

Here is one of the tall trees in Founders Grove, aptly named Javelin.  Sure you can see why.

Javelin redwood tree in Founders Grove

 

2      Jedediah Smith Redwoods

 

A few days later in the same week I did some group hikes in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, near Route 199 in the Walker Road area.   There are nice flats in this area with a good number of 100 meter plus redwoods.  I believe this area has the northernmost 100 meter coast redwood trees.

The loop trails along Walker Road are really nice.  The amount of western hemlock is amazing, they grow everywhere on everything.

Here are a couple tall trees in the area, both well above 100 meters.  The bench was built in 1972 as a viewing point to the second tree pictured.  Its trail is no longer maintained but still gets a lot of use.

Tall double spike top at Walker Road and Route 199

 

Tall symmetrical redwood west of Walker Road (John King Fesler Grove)

 

Bench is positioned to view the tall symmetrical redwood. Dedicated in 1972

 

I will post more about this trip later.  Thanks for reading.