Giant redwoods: world’s largest trees “thriving in the UK”

The Giant Redwoods were first brought to the UK around 160 years ago. Recently, they have been observed to flourish in the UK, exceeding the number of their native counterparts in California.
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According to the latest report, these trees are growing at the exact rate as those in California, which is surprising since, scientifically, trees are expected to thrive in their natural habitat.

The number of trees has exceeded 500,000 in the UK compared to 80,000 in the U.S. However, the Giant Redwoods haven’t reached a height beyond 54.87m, when they can reach 90m in their native ecosystem.

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One reason they are shorter in the UK is the age gap. Redwoods can live up to 2,000 years, so compared to those in California, they are still very young and have plenty of time to catch up.

The giant sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum: the biggest tree in the worldThe giant sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum: the biggest tree in the world
The giant sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum: the biggest tree in the world

Historically speaking, the Victorians first introduced these trees in the UK. Initially, they were a symbol of social status, superior class and wealth and were planted in the grand estates of the elites. The reason for this symbolism was their appearance, which is dense, bold and cone-shaped, clearly standing out among the rest.

Botanists and researchers have been curious about the debate and look forward to assessing how these trees adjust to their new habitat. A study was conducted at Wakehurst, Benmore Botanic Garden, where a sample of nearly 5,000 trees was collected.

Researchers measured the trees' height, weight, and volume through laser scanners. Dr Wilkes concluded that the trees were experiencing a growth rate similar to that of the Giant Redwoods in their native area, the Sierra Nevada. It appears that the UK’s climate and environmental conditions suit the trees.

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Researchers also observed the amount of carbon dioxide the trees could potentially absorb. Surprisingly, the Giant Redwoods, due to their size and volume, became a significant carbon dioxide absorption source. Therefore, a higher number of these trees could greatly counter global warming and climate change.

According to Paul Cairney, professor of politics and public policy at the University of Sterling, the UK has one of the most comprehensive tobacco controls worldwide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also stated that tobacco industries and smoking cost 600 million trees every year on Earth.

The UK, one of the most successful countries in countering smoking, has constantly updated its tobacco regulation policies and banned smoking in public places. UK citizens have been rapidly switching to better alternatives such as Oxva vape or Voopoo vape kit to ensure no release of chemical toxins in the atmosphere.

Still, researchers believe that planting Giant Redwood forests would not be enough to counter or significantly reduce CO2 emissions. But, they may prove highly valuable in contributing to climate control.

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Unfortunately, California's natural wonders are under heavy threat of extinction due to increasingly hot and dry weather. Professor Mathias Disney from the University College London states that the survival and constant flourishing of Giant Redwoods is highly possible.

He said, “In terms of climate, it's probably the case that they're going to have a less pressured existence here than they do in California.”

Dr Wilkes explains, "Where they grow in California, it's cooler and moister than you would typically envisage California to be. We have a reasonably similar climate here - it's very wet, and they need the moisture to grow.”

It is also to be noted that even though these trees are thriving successfully in the UK, there’s still less chance of them dominating forests due to the reproduction problem they face in the UK’s habitat.

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