The news was heartbreaking. California’s oldest state park, home to coast redwood trees as tall as skyscrapers and dating back to the Roman Empire, suffered extensive damage in this month’s massive fires.
A pang of sorrow rippled across the United States, as Americans faced the possibility that one of the nation’s most beloved natural treasures could be gone forever. But despite the apparent devastation, most of the redwood conifers are not actually dead, say scientists.
The trees of Big Basin Redwoods State Park “will very quickly recover,” says Mark Finney, a research forester at the U.S. Forest Service’s Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana. He’s seen it happen before.
As a graduate student, Dr...