California’s Smog Problem Putting Giant Sequoia Redwoods At Risk


Written by Jaymi Heimbuch

An icon of the California landscape is in danger. The biggest and oldest trees in California, the giant Sequoias, are at risk from air pollution coming in to the national park from the Central Valley where farming, food processing and major highways all contribute to smog pollution. The smog makes it hard for seedlings to become established, and is yellowing the needles of other types of pines, the Jeffrey and Ponderosa.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the national park in which the redwoods live has the worst air quality of any national park. “Signs in visitor centers warn guests when it’s not safe to hike. The government employment website warns job applicants that the workplace is unhealthy. And park workers are briefed every year on the lung and heart damage the pollution can cause.”

If there is that much warning for the damage the air will cause to humans, just imagine the damage it is causing to the trees, as trees are considered the “lungs of the planet.” While it’s clear the impact the pollution has on young trees and other pines, it isn’t yet clear what impact it is having on the established trees that are thousands of years old.

According to AJC, the only way to improve air quality in the park is to improve air quality in the Central Valley, which at this point is a monumental — and very long-term — task. In the mean time, the future of the great Sequoias is shaky.

This post was originally published by TreeHugger.


Related Stories:

What Is The National Park Service? Explore 7 Awesome Parks

Are the World’s Big Trees Doomed?

5 Smoggiest Cities in the US


Top photo from MiguelVieira; second photo from Supermac1961 via flickr

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Dee D.
D D.3 years ago

This is very bleak news for the Sequoias....hope this can be turned around.

Lynn D.
Lynn D.3 years ago

Sad, thanks for article!

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

So very sad and this didn't have to happen.

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P.3 years ago

tragic :/

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers3 years ago


Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak3 years ago

This is in a state that has the toughest air quality regulations in the US. Think how bad it would be if CA had not set in place these laws.

Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch3 years ago

Trees are the air cleansing item of our planet.

Plant more trees, decrease CO2, cut down more trees, increase CO2.

Simple math.

Clearing rainforests and planting crops will just hasen this problem.

jill bukovnik
jill Campbell3 years ago

Why is it that we see into the future, after we've built the Industries that cause the problem.

I believe there are too many "yes" men out there that jump the gun, in the name of leaving a legacy & building an industry that people will remember them by after they're dead & gone.

I also believe that if there were more women in charge, we would not be saying "yes" so soon. We'd weigh the pros and cons while thinking of our children's future....that's just how we're's in us to think of the big picture first. After all, that's how we raise our children, we think of consequences for our actions & try to teach them the same. Women have very strong nurturing, planning ahead, researching what we need to know, teaching about our world & all people thru love & about love & definitely putting everything before ourselves. These assets are what we're made of.

Alice Almeida
Alice Almeida3 years ago


Karen Howard
Karen H.3 years ago

Trees produce oxygen. If we kill off the trees, what will we breathe? It's amazing that so many people don't see the correlation between killing our environment and committing mass suicide by toxicity. Money is more important to corporations than consumers. One day they may realize that, without living, breathing consumers, they won't have any money.