Target: Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director, National Park Service
Goal: Better protect our redwood trees from poaching
Poaching is a growing threat to the survival of the majestic, old growth redwood trees living in our Redwood National and State Parks. Poachers are vandalizing trees to remove redwood “burls,” which are bulbous growths that vary in size and that can weigh several hundred pounds apiece. More and more people are illegally carving burls from redwoods for some quick cash, threatening the ancient trees’ chances for survival and propagation. The National Park Service (NPS) is the governmental organization responsible for the care of our National Parks; as the current NPS Director, Jonathan B. Jarvis needs to do a better job of protecting our most precious woodland resources.
Burl wood is prized by some for its intricate whorls and beautiful color, and it is often fashioned into tables, chairs, and other pieces of furniture that can retail for several thousands of dollars. Drug addicts and others desperate for cash routinely enter the 130,000 plus acres of Redwood National and State Parks and carve burls from redwoods using chainsaws — if a burl is big enough, poachers will fell an entire tree to get it. This poaching cuts into a redwood’s cambium layer (the part of the tree that stimulates new growth of bark and wood), threatening the tree’s survival by increasing its susceptibility to harmful insects and disease. The burl is also a redwood’s greatest means of propagation; a burl contains the genetic material that allows the redwood to sprout a clone before it dies. Burl poaching can kill redwoods and prevent them from reproducing and surviving into the future.
Redwood trees are among the tallest, oldest, and most beautiful trees in the world. Of them, John Steinbeck wrote: “The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.”
We have lost over 90% of our redwood forests over the past 150 years. What little remains from that original 2 millions acres of redwoods now mostly resides in Redwood National Park. Please sign the petition below to demand Director Jarvis do a better job of protecting our precious redwoods from burl poachers.
Dear Mr. Jarvis,
I was greatly saddened to learn of increased redwood burl poaching in our Redwood National and State Parks. Drug addicts and others desperate for quick, easy cash routinely carve burls from federally protected redwoods and sell the wood for use in the manufacture of furniture, which can be sold for several thousands of dollars. Burl poaching damages a redwood’s cambium layer, which damages its ability to grow new wood and bark, making it more susceptible to harmful insects and diseases, which may threaten the tree’s survival. If a burl is big enough, poachers may fell an entire tree, effectively killing it. Furthermore, redwood trees rely on their burls for propagation, sprouting redwood clones before dying, so poaching also hurts the overall survival chances of all of our redwood forests.
We have lost over 90% of our redwood forests over the past 150 years. What little remains from that original 2 millions acres of redwoods now mostly resides in Redwood National Park. We need to do everything we can to protect what is left. Please do everything within your power as Director of the National Park Service to protect our precious redwoods.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: National Park Service Picture at Wikimedia Commons