The trails Jeff took us on in King’s Canyon did more than just reveal some of the best trees in the park, they also revealed how close I was to never seeing the trees because of last year’s forest fires.
The destruction we saw was nearly as amazing as the trees themselves, in a very different sense, of course.
Although there were areas where everything had burned, there were other areas where the fire left other trees untouched.
Some of the larger trees appeared to have been saved by their sheer size and thick bark.
As it turns out, one of the greatest contributor’s to their longevity is their natural resistance to fire.
After observing last year’s devastation, I was surprised at how many of the older trees showed signs of fire damage, like this tree whose core showed scars of a much earlier fire.
After seeing that many of the biggest trees were surrounded by much younger trees, I wondered if these giant trees hadn’t somehow benefitted from the extra light when trees around them were burned and even from the nutrients in the ashes of the trees that had burned.The few old-growth forests I’ve been able to visit in the Pacific Northwest suggest a
similar pattern where the biggest trees stand alone because other trees have blown down in wind storms or died in other ways.