Editorial: New management plan for Giant Sequoia NMon may finally give big trees protection they deserve
This week, Sierra Club supporters made a giant difference in protecting one of the greatest natural treasures on Earth. The giant sequoias are direct descendants of the enormous trees that once covered North America and loomed over dinosaurs in vast forests of fern and evergreen. Now they survive in just one small redoubt -- the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.
By the time modern man first encountered the giant trees, only 60-odd scattered groves remained. Our first response was awestruck incredulity. Our second was to start cutting them down. The wood wasn't good for much -- too fibrous and brittle for construction, most of it became shingles, stakes, and matchsticks. The plundering lasted for decades, with one lumber company felling an estimated 8,000 trees in the Converse Basin alone. Soon, nearly a third of the giant sequoias were gone.