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Drought Impacting Giant Sequoias

Researchers studying the Giant Sequoias along the Sierra Nevada are noticing symptoms of stress from the drought.

The Associated Press reports that federal researchers are noticing more brown and dead foliage than past years, as California is in the midst of a four year drought. Researchers recently collected foliage from 50 giant sequoias for testing. The work will help officials better determine which areas are in need of more thinning projects and prescribed burns. Giant Sequoias grow naturally in the Sierra Nevada, and are among the oldest living things on earth. They grow up to 300 ft. tall and can live for more than 3,000 years.

During the recent Rough Fire, there was concern that flames would rip through the grove that is home to the General Grant Tree, which is one of the tallest Giant Sequoias. Fire lines were constructed around the grove, and sprinklers were set up to help protect it.

The researchers note that the drought is not causing unusually high number of Giant Sequoias to die, like is the case with conifers, but they are noticing changes.