Save the Redwoods League has united four scientists to launch the Initiative. Working on scales from leaves to landscapes, no other team of investigators in the world has the unique and complementary skills to conduct this integrated 10-year investigation of redwoods.
PhD, Research Scientist, Department of Integrative Biology and Center for Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry, University of California, Berkeley
Anthony Ambrose recently completed his PhD on coast redwood and giant sequoia physiology at UC Berkeley while working under Professor Todd Dawson and while collaborating with Stephen Sillett, PhD, and Robert Van Pelt, PhD, both of the Institute for Redwood Ecology at Humboldt State University. Ambrose’s dissertation showed that the combination of soil and atmospheric drought caused 72% lower carbon assimilation in giant sequoia and 82% lower carbon assimilation in coast redwood saplings in greenhouse experiments. His research also revealed redwoods’ environmental sensitivity changes with height of the tree, suggesting that the effects of climate change will differ among trees of different sizes and ages.
PhD, Professor and Director of the Center for Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry, University of California, Berkeley & Save the Redwoods League Councilor
Todd Dawson, PhD, and his team of researchers have conducted key studies into redwood tree rings, as part of his career to understand the fundamental ecology of coast redwoods and giant sequoias. His research has discovered that coast redwoods intercept enough fog with their massive crowns to provide 20-40% of the total precipitation inputs to the coast redwood forest. Additional studies have shown that redwoods soak up this water through their leaves as well as from the “fog drip” at their roots. In the last decade, Dawson completed six League co-founded studies exploring topics such as the redwoods’ ability to absorb carbon from the air.
PhD, Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology, Humboldt State University
Stephen C. Sillett, PhD, studies the ecology of the world’s tallest trees, and holds the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology in the Department of Forestry and Wild Land Resources at Humboldt State University. Sillett’s pioneering research high in the canopy of redwoods has changed the way scientists look at and study tall trees. Sillett and his team have been monitoring the heights of the tallest redwoods since 1995, and their database includes information from 180 trees over 350 feet tall. His findings indicate that redwoods can produce more and better quality wood as they age for up to 2,000 years and that both wood production and height growth of the tallest trees represent key indicators of climate change.
PhD, Adjunct Professor and Research Scientist, Institute for Redwood Ecology, Humboldt State University
Robert Van Pelt, PhD, researches old-growth forest structure in the Pacific Northwest and California and has published several large-scale data sets on forest structure that reshaped theory on how individual tree and forest structure progress over time. Van Pelt combines quantitative data methods with graphic design to help inform state conservation efforts. Van Pelt has worked closely with Sillett since 1996 and the two have co-authored 11 scientific publications together that relate directly to old-growth forest structure and function.
For more than 90 years, Save the Redwoods League has been dedicated to protecting the ancient redwood forests so all generations can experience the inspiration and majesty of redwoods. In 1850, there were nearly 2 million acres of ancient coast redwood forests in California. Today, less than 5 percent remains and faces threats from unsustainable logging practices, poorly planned development and global climate change. Since its founding in 1918, the League has completed the purchase of more than 190,000 acres of land.
Save the Redwoods League
114 Sansome Street, Suite 1200
San Francisco, CA 94104