The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has been cloning giant redwoods from genetic material still living in their stumps, and planting them around the world.
Today, giant stumps of ancient redwoods dot the landscape from Oregon to northern California, reminders of the old-growth forest that used to stretch across the Pacific Northwest. Many arborists assumed these stumps were dead, but Milarch and his son, Jake, discovered living tissue growing from the trees' roots, material known as baseless or stump sprouts. The Milarchs collected DNA from stumps of five giant coast redwoods, all larger than the largest tree living today. These included a giant sequoia known as General Sherman with a 25-foot diameter.
They then used this genetic material to grow dozens of saplings, clones of the ancient trees, a process that takes approximately two-and-a-half-years. The Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has already planted nearly 100 of these saplings in the Eden Project garden in Cornwall, England, a couple hundred in Oregon, and is organizing further groves of saplings in nine other countries.
"These saplings have extraordinary potential to purify our air, water, and soil for generations to come," Milarch said. "We hope [the San Francisco] 'super grove,' which has the capability to become an eternal forest, is allowed to grow unmolested by manmade or natural disasters and thus propagate forever."
(Thanks, John Stewart!)