This Arbor Day, go plant a tree: a native one.

Campion Redwoods in Redwood National Park
Campion Redwoods in Redwood National Park

It’s Arbor Day! Since 1872, people here in the US and around the world have marked this day by planting trees. Millions of them over time. It’s a great thing to do — planting a tree is good for the Earth and makes you feel good too. It really is a win-win. But it also has to be done with care and thought.

You may have read the news coverage about the Archangel Ancient Tree Project. Mr. Milarch and his Michigan based group have been working to clone champion redwood trees and are now leading an effort to plant these clones around the world . By doing this they hope to create a living record of these enduring giants and to, “reforest the Earth with the offspring of these trees.”

I am all for creating an archive of these monarch trees, but reforestation efforts around the world need to tailored to local conditions  — and in most instances this will mean choosing a local tree! I used to love seeing the occasional redwood growing up in Britain. They’re a great novelty, especially for a young kid. But I would hate to see a redwood forest spring up where a beech woodland used to thrive. And its not just me, the plants and animals need the local forests to thrive — they just wouldn’t find a home in an exotic redwood forest.

Mr. Milarch and Archangel, thanks for raising awareness about the plight of the world’s forests and encouraging a new generation of tree planters. But let’s work on encouraging people to value their local forests — even when they lack the stature of the towering redwoods they are an important part of the diversity of this forested world.

If you can’t plant a tree personally, there are many groups who can help you – the ArborDay Foundation can help hook you up. Of course, since we’re talking about redwoods I would remiss not to mention Save the Redwoods League — they have a great redwood planting program that you can support. And you can be assured that the trees will be both genetically appropriate and planted in one of California’s great redwood parks.

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