Although the giant sequoia may be Yosemite’s most famous big tree, the park is also home to many other species of venerable large trees, such as the white fir, red fir, lodgepole pine, dogwood and willow. Studies indicate that many of the region’s largest trees are dying off. As these trees become scarcer, the cultural and scientific value of the remaining forest giants increases.

This project helped ensure that those magnificent trees receive the special protections they need to survive. With your support, scientists surveyed the park’s very old and/or large trees in their natural habitat, in order to study the conditions of the trees and develop recommendations for protecting them from fire and disease.

During the field season, park staff, scientists and volunteer “tree-hunters” compiled a spatial database of large Sierra Nevada trees, identified a unique ecozone with an exceptionally high number of trees stretching 240 feet or more into the sky, and discovered that Yosemite is home to the tallest pine tree ever measured: a 274-foot sugar pine. Educational materials created through this project are designed to increase public awareness of the importance of Yosemite’s old-growth forests and giant trees.

Your support helped scientists conduct important reserve that will help preserve and protect Yosemite’s awe-inspiring trees.

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park and American Forests.

In Her Own Words
Alison Colwell, Botanist, Yosemite National Park

“Staring up, instead of down, comes with its own hazards, like occasionally tripping over a branch and dealing with a sore neck at the end of the day, but it also leaves you with an incredible lightness of being from wandering around among some of the biggest and tallest trees in the United States.”

Alison Colwell


Project Notes

Yosemite protects a significant portion of our nation’s remaining old growth forests. These old trees require special care to keep them healthy and protect them from fire and disease, and our research will provide that can help us refine management practices.