There are two domestic species of trees that are commonly referred to as redwoods: the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), and Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). Redwood trees get their common name from their bark and heartwood, both of which are a dark, reddish-brown color. Redwood heartwood is found in the inner portion of the tree and contains high tannin levels. In addition to tannins, redwood trees contain other chemicals which impart resistance to insects and fungal disease.
Coast redwood trees grow in the summer fog belt that stretches from central California north to the Oregon border. Redwood trees can range in height from 100 to 367 feet (30 to 112 meters). One specimen has been measured and found to be around 318 feet (97 meters); the diameter of the trunk measures up to 25 feet (7.5 meters).
Coast redwood trees may live for more than 2,500 years. In addition to their long lifespan, coast redwood trees have the ability to regenerate in a few ways; they may sprout from seed, and young trees may also sprout from their parent’s roots. The coast redwood is also tolerant to flooding and their bark is resistant to fire.
The habitat of the coast redwood is a climate where rainfall is typically around 60 inches per year. Eighty percent of this rainfall occurs during the six months between November 1 and April 30. Topography varies from sea level to about 3,000 feet, and is marked by steep, narrow canyons. The slopes on which coast redwood trees grow commonly rise 50 to 70 feet or more per 100 feet. Soils of the redwood region have mostly been formed on sandstones and shales, and to a lesser extent on slate, chert, limestone and schist.
The Redwood region currently totals approximately 2.2 million acres. These acres are contained in a mix of industrial forest lands, non-industrial forest lands, parks, reserves and conservation lands.
- 1,050,000 acres in Private Forest Lands (>2,500 acres)
- 780,000 acres Non-industrial Forest Lands
- 336,000 acres Parks, Reserves, Conservation Lands
- 48,000 acres Jackson State Demonstration Forest