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Letters to the Editor: Climate change threatens sequoias. Dead sequoias worsen climate change. Uh-oh

The General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park with protective wrapping on its base to save it from a nearby wildfire.
(Gary Kazanjian / AFP / Getty Images)

To the editor: I’ve loved the majestic sequoia forests since I first visited them as a child. A bumper sticker saying “Trees of Mystery” was a common sight. Years later I saw a more sardonic bumper sticker in reaction to the logging of old-growth forests: “Stumps of Mystery.” (“Will tin foil save giant sequoias? Let’s hope so,” editorial, Sept. 26)

Now, even “stumps” sounds quaint as our magnificent forests turn into smoke and ash.

The wildland forest fires are especially troubling for yet another reason. Forests are carbon sinks, removing carbon dioxide from the air and producing oxygen. Instead, these fires make them gross carbon emitters. This scary feedback loop makes it even harder to reduce the level of greenhouse gases.

We must urgently transition away from fossil fuels to save our forests and address the climate crisis.

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Ann Rushton, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: This is what giant sequoias would tell humans right now:

For 200 million years we evolved with mixed-intensity fire and drought. Though some of us may die in a wildfire, far more of us will reproduce. Our offspring, the best adapted to this calamitous climate, can ensure our existence for many more years.

This is what humans are telling the sequoias:

We will save you. We will rake away the needles and twigs that protect your fine roots and whose ash would nourish the bare mineral soil your offspring need to survive. We will spray your fire-resistant trunk with a high-pressure water hose during extreme heat, and wrap you like a baked potato in a barbecue.

There is something unnatural happening here, but it isn’t the lightning-sparked fires burning through sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada.

Rachel Fazio, Big Bear City, Calif.

The writer is associate director and staff attorney for the John Muir Project.


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