On March 20th, 2015 we learned about

Champion trees’ lives extended even further by cloning

The Pacific northwest may soon be swarming with clones, which exactly what the nonprofit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is working towards. The Michigan-based group has been working since 1994 to make genetic archives of 150 species of tree, and then in some cases, clone and replant them.

The ‘Champion Trees’ that are being cloned and replanted are unusual within their respective species. While many coast redwoods can live to be 1000 years old, some live twice that long, but scientists don’t currently understand why. Between their relative scarcity and the destruction of old-growth forests in the United State, there just aren’t enough Champion Trees in the wild to really study.

So these new clones, planted as saplings, are not only a way to help preserve and promote tree growth in general. They’re also a way to regrow special trees that may no longer be available to study otherwise. To further their chances of success, many trees are being planted further north than their donor-trees grew, as a way to speed up the species’ migration to cooler climates.

Source: Ancient Trees Sprout New Life by Andrea Alfano, Scientific American

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