Coming June 9, 2016, Here & Now listeners and visitors will experience our stories and journalism online in a whole new way.
Today in New Zealand, you’ll be able to find something you’d only expect to see in Northern California: redwood trees.
“We had thousands of failures until finally we got the right combination.”
These trees are only saplings, about 18-inches tall, but they are the clones of some of the oldest and most massive trees on Earth.
The planting of these trees in New Zealand and eight other locations around the world yesterday is the first step toward building “tree archives” – small forests where some of the world’s most ancient trees would be cultivated for study, and to help fight climate change.
“We were told by most of the world’s scientists that this is impossible. Trying to ask a 2,000-year-old or 3,000-year-old tree to reproduce itself is akin to having a 110-year-old woman have a baby,” Milarch told Here & Now’s Robin Young.
Milarch didn’t believe the naysayers and kept trying.
“We had thousands of failures until finally we got the right combination,” he said.
Giant sequoias are among the fastest-growing trees on the planet, Milarch said, and absorb more carbon dioxide than other trees.
His goal, he said, is to help offset the excess carbon in the atmosphere and produce more oxygen by reforesting the planet.
In addition to the redwoods, the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is cloning 70 other tree species.