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Visit Sequoia National Park’s giant sequoia trees, without leaving L.A.

Sequoia National Park
Scientists are studying the effects of hotter-than-usual droughts on giant sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Do you care about the effect climate change is having on California’s giant sequoia trees? The top forest management scientist at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and other speakers are coming to L.A. to talk about how hotter droughts are damaging these ancient giants as never before.

The free lecture from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday is open to the public. It features a trip to the park’s Giant Forest, courtesy of virtual reality goggles.

The forest and popular tourist destination was named by John Muir in 1875 for the impressive size and number of giant sequoias.

Grander than Yosemite? Many national park fans agree. Sequoia has the largest trees on the planet, and Kings Canyon is considered the deepest canyon in the nation — deeper even than the Grand Canyon.

Hotter droughts between 2012 and 2016 wiped out 150 million trees in California’s forests, but giant sequoias were not among those lost.

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However, scientists discovered “an unprecedented foliage dieback” among Sequoiadendron giganteum during the 2014 drought. Dieback is a term used to convey when a tree or shrub is dying from the tips of its leaves, roots or branches back to its core.

The findings are part of a Leaf to Landscape Project that measures the response of these seemingly indestructible trees to extremely hot droughts. Findings will help scientists better monitor and manage their care.

Speakers include Christy Brigham, chief of resource management and science at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks; Kylie Caraway, who created the VR tour of the Giant Forest; and Savannah Boiano, executive director of the Sequoia Parks Conservancy.

Giant sequoias grow exclusively on the western slope of the Sierra. The largest of these trees, including General Sherman, can be found at Sequoia National Park.

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Tickets are free, but you must register in advance. The event will be held at the Moss Theater at New Roads School, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica.

Sign up online at Giant Sequoias and Climate Change


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