Forest of the Future?

Cloning giants. While it sounds like it could be the title of this summer’s biggest sci-fi blockbuster, I’m talking about one group’s mission to propagate some of the planet’s most significant old-growth trees before it’s too late. Archangel Ancient Tree Archive ( was born from the vision of father/son team David and Jared Milarch, who wanted to protect the “Old Forest Giants.” The concept was conceived in 1996, when the duo set out to preserve the genetics of some of California’s biggest trees.

Flash-forward 17 years and the cloned giants are going global. On Earth Day of this year, sapling clones were planted in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Germany and the U.S. The trees were about 18 inches tall and were cloned from three giant trees that were felled in California over a century ago. Shoots still grow from the stumps of the fallen giants including the Fieldbrook Stump, which is 35 feet in diameter and believed to be about 4,000 years old, a testament to the survivability of the species.

The group hopes its contributions will aid the reforestation of the planet, and says their current operations are just a first step toward mass production. Ultimately, Archangel Ancient Tree Archive hopes to help combat climate change “by reintroducing specimens – from clones of ancient trees or proven champion trees – that have exhibited a proven longevity, or have shown other desirable attributes.” If all goes well with the Earth Day plantings (which, of course depends greatly on their care in coming years), there are other trees ready to go for the next round – the group has an inventory of a few thousands clones from over 70 different redwoods and sequoias.

Coming in June

Next month, one of the tree care industry’s favorite topics of discussion: climbing techniques. Whether you’ve been climbing for 50 years or are only a week into the job, chances are you have an opinion on the best way to scale a tree. Tony Tresselt, ISA certified arborist, TCIA certified tree care safety professional and instructor for North American Training Solutions, will weigh in on tips and techniques for safe and efficient tree climbing.

Katie Meyers