The Redwood forest
The tallest trees in the world
The Redwood Forest is a special type of temperate rainforest that is dominated by the tallest trees in the world - the 'Coast Redwoods' or 'Giant Sequoia'. Old growth redwood forests once covered over 800,000ha of coastal northern California. Today, only about 4%, or under 35,000ha remain.
The west coast of the United States (from Monterey County in northern California, going north to southern Oregon) is the only place in the world where forests of coast redwoods are found.
Called the grandfather trees by local American Indians, coast redwoods are the tallest trees in the world, growing to over 91m. They live to be over 2,000 years old. These giant trees thrive in a unique climate that includes dense dripping fog, north facing seaward slopes of the outer coastal ranges, minimal diurnal or seasonal temperature change, and moist, well drained soil.
The understory is dominated by rhododendrons, azaleas, ferns (especially sword ferns) and a carpet of redwood sorrel. Fauna includes elk, black-tailed deer, bobcats, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, and the occasional black bear. Salmon, steelhead, and trout spawn in the creeks.
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, together with the national park lands contain 45% of all the old-growth redwood forest remaining in California. The United Nations designated Redwood National and State Parks a World Heritage Site in 1980.