1 MILLION REDWOODS PROJECT
The 1 Million Redwoods Project draws on ecological, economic, and social innovations with a multi-scalar approach that incorporates land conservation, ecological restoration, multi-disciplinary research, and large-scale plant propagation in a restorative native species nursery. The nursery will function as a living library and laboratory that will help to safeguard rare and endangered plant and fungal genetics of the redwood range.
The nursery will act as a model for replication by communities that have experienced severe biodiversity loss, with potential short- and long-term benefits. It will serve as an ecological heritage reserve for an extensive array of native understory flora, in addition to the various genotypes of the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). From the nursery, coast redwood and understory species, will be planted back into spaces that have experienced harsh deforestation, with the hopes of recultivating the once existing ecology. A seed bank will be established on site to preserve genetic varieties of native species found throughout the bioregion. In addition to a seed bank, a fungal spore and culture bank will also be established to safeguard and reintroduce this oft-overlooked pillar of the ecosystem and aid in tree growth. This whole-system approach will help ensure a successful restoration in target areas and the spreading of ecological integrity to adjacent areas, while building resilience to an unpredictable climate.
The location of the nursery is in the latitudinal center of the Redwood range, within the coastal mountains of southern Cascadia. Wild and scenic waterways surround the land on three sides, comprising miles of key intact salmon habitat. The land rises over a thousand feet to create diverse niches and microclimates. The redwood haven is situated in the midst of one of California's preeminent wildways, buffered by 200,000 acres of undeveloped redwood forest, connecting to a network of conserved forests including the Sinkyone Wilderness, the Elkhorn Wilderness, the Cahto Wilderness, the Angelo Coast Range Reserve, and vast contiguous timberlands.
EMPOWERING OUR COMMUNITIES
One of the foundational components of the project is based upon empowering our social communities and creating more synergistic relationships among otherwise siloed institutions and organizations, including: oppressed or marginalized peoples, First Nations Peoples, environmentalists, private groups, academia and government. One measure of success for the native species nursery is the coalescence of a multitude of perspectives, knowledge bases, and philosophical orientations into a shared vision that serves the continuation of life, not the agenda of one group over another. We have learned from the forest that it takes a diverse community to obtain stability and resiliency.
In the shadow of the extractive paradigm of human exceptionalism, this project will honor the wealth of Traditional Ecological Knowledge for land tenure practices held by local First Nations peoples. We seek to consult the local Cahto Tribe, as well as other indigenous communities, as facilitators within our ecological restoration efforts and nursery operations. We intend to reach out to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana, the Stillaguamish Tribe of Washington, as well as the Hopi and Navajo Nations, for their guidance on establishing and operating successful native plant nurseries and reforestation projects.
AN ECOLOGIAL RESEARCH CENTER
Both the fungal and seed banks, as well as the nursery, will serve as opportunities for research focused on climate change adaptation and regenerative Earth based sciences. We plan on reaching out to and potentially partnering with institutions such as UC Berkeley, Trout Unlimited, University of Humboldt, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Collaborating with such organizations will be instrumental in fulfilling the secondary function of the nursery as an ecological research center. With this type of platform, graduate students and researchers will be able to utilize the space as a way to test, observe, and record data related to restorative land tenure practices, climate change, earth renewal, and regenerative land design. We plan on gathering research on a variety of subjects, including: the adaptive capability and migration potential of native species in the face of a changing climate; fungal interactions; soil processes and biology; forest hydrology; and stream restoration. In alliance with local tribes such as the Cahto and Pomo, we will develop research goals that align with the ecological values of our original stewards and bolster populations of plants of cultural significance.
Fundamental to our research endeavors will be their usefulness in action. We aim to carry out research that will enable us to be better stewards of the land, applying our findings directly in ecosystem and stream restoration projects. Our research will be replicable and accessible, allowing others to implement effective restoration practices guided by our findings. The research center will be multi-scalar, encompassing studies applicable to individuals or small communities interested in fostering native species, as well as to logging companies hoping to integrate restorative methods into their operations. Additionally, we hope to contribute novel findings to scientific literature and publications.
IN THE BEGINNING
"Three winters ago I moved onto a wild mountain tucked between timberlands, wilderness and the Pacific in the midst of the Coast Redwood range.
I was deep in my studies of restoration ecology and although I was being academically nourished, I still craved the direct teachings of the forest herself. So I set up a tent and listened. If I was to do anything on this wild land, I needed to enter as guests and honor the ones who already called this mountain home. Among the sources of guidance, the voices of many visionaries I interviewed on the radio show (especially Diana Beresford-Kroeger) guided me to the prospect of the native species nursery, to begin to replant the global forest.
So I've set off to do just that. I am now collaborating with experts and in the process of irrigation design, nursery setup, soil building, seed collecting and fungus gathering. Our goal is to plant 1 million Redwood trees and many of their companion plants, with their roots interlaced with fungal allies.
Why Redwood trees you might ask? They are of course magnificent and mythical, the tallest trees in the world, but they are also extremely important in curbing climate chaos: they hold at least three times more aboveground carbon than any other forest type in the world.
We are collecting seeds starting October 2017 and the planting will begin in Spring 2018. We plan on setting up the fungal propagation site and spore bank nearby. We have recovered a trove of old growth redwood lumber that was milled on this land years ago from down logs. This wood will become nursery tables flooding the meadows, so the seedlings with arise from the bones of their ancestors.
We are reaching out to the first people of this land, the Cahto tribe, for guidance and support in the restoration of these magnificent forests. We will be working year-round on planting on public and private lands, as well as in volunteer blitzes, to celebratorily and ceremoniously steward this land, and usher it back into health and diversity."
Ayana, February 2017