Why is it a problem? Climate change will interact with other stressors that the redwoods had never experienced until recently. In addition to the extensive logging that began with the 1849 gold rush, leaving a small fraction of the original coast redwood forest, humans have introduced other stressors to the redwood forest including invasive species, fire suppression, air pollution and habitat fragmentation.
Decades of climate warming and forest fire suppression policies are exacerbating fire intensity. Droughts make fire more likely to ignite and spread through vast landscapes of forest that, in many cases, have not burned for decades due to fire exclusion and therefore carry high fuel loads of small trees and understory vegetation that burn hot once lit. In contrast to the “cool” and moderate fires that sustain the redwood forest, hot and intense fires are more likely to destroy forests and kill even the biggest, most resilient redwoods and giant sequoias.
Detachment from Nature
Experiences outdoors enrich our lives, making us happier and healthier. Research shows that spending time in nature enhances the ability to cope with and recover from stress, illness and injury. People consistently report lower anxiety, better attention and increased well-being after spending time outdoors, where parks and open spaces provide beautiful places to exercise and unwind. The benefits to society of a vibrant connection with the outdoors are proven, and if we let this connection fade, we lose the inspiration, health and happiness that results from being in nature. In addition, people protect what they know and love. If we become detached from nature, our environment loses its stewards and caretakers.