Giant Sequoias

Giant Sequoias


For centuries the great sequoia have stimulated the interest and wonder of those who behold them. Through time, considerable error, distortion and inconsistency have developed about these magnificent trees. We hope to present a more clear and true view of the giant sequoia and their ecological interrelationships. We have gathered our data from the writings of others as well as from the results of twenty years of our own field studies.

Richard Hartesveldt began his studies of the effect of human impact on the giant sequoia in Yosemite's Mariposa grove in 1956. In 1964, in Kings Canyon National Park, the four of us began more then ten years of study of the role of fire on the big trees.

Through our research, we have altered many accepted ideas about the giant sequoias. Paramount in our findings has been the fact that fire (as well as chickadees and insects) plays a positive role in their biology and continued survival.

Our research has been encouraged and supported by the National Park Service. Together we carried out the first prescribed use of fire in a western national park. We are deeply indebted to the Service and extended our appreciation to the park rangers and forestry personnel. To our families, San Jose State University, the National Park Service, and to individuals too many to enumerate, we express our thanks.

We have spent countless pleasurable days in the Redwood Mountain Grove of Kings Canyon National Park, where, as one of our group is fond of saying, "Every day a field trip, every meal a picnic." If we can pass along a bit of the insight, enjoyment, awe and respect we have gained, we will be amply rewarded.

H. Thomas Harvey

Howard S. Shellhammer

Ronald E. Stecker

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