The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

    Redwoods dying

    For years, the redwood trees on the De Anza College campus have been casting shade onto its students and staff. Lately, though, the only shadows these gentle giants are casting are ones of worry. Students and faculty have noticed that the redwood trees on campus seem to be in bad health.

    “There is no doubt,” said environmental studies instructor Kristin Sullivan, “they are dying, and there are reasons they are dying.”

    The reasons can be summed up easily: De Anza’s redwoods are not in their native habitat. Although the redwood has a reputation for being “California’s tree,” the species is not indigenous to all areas of California. The natural growth range is from eight to 56 kilometers inland, making its natural home fall under only a narrow strip of the northern California coastline. Cupertino does not fall into this native range, and so this area does not have what the trees on campus need to be healthy.

    “[Redwoods] do not do well far from the coast,” said De Anza biology instructor Vicki Jennings.

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    The coastline sees more precipitation from incoming moisture off the ocean and has fog drip, which is imperative to healthy Redwoods. Fog drip decreases water loss from evaporation and increases soil moisture during dry summers.

    “Microclimatic conditions are so important, and anytime that you put a species into a place that they didn’t evolve in, without their natural living condition, they just won’t survive,” said Sullivan.

    Out of their native ecosystem, redwoods cannot survive for the 2,200 years that they are capable of living. “It’s sad,” said Jennings, “but there is not a lot we can do to save them.”

    De Anza’s redwood trees will not be lost without a fight by those taking care of them.

    “We are going to do what we can to save them,” said Joseph Cooke, De Anza grounds supervisor.

    Plans include replacing the old irrigation system with new bubblers, which will soak the soil under the trees, deliver the necessary extra water to the redwoods and replace the old soil with soil that is more in line with the redwoods’ natural habitat.

    Yet although De Anza caretakers may be able to spare some of its Redwoods, students might soon be saying goodbye to a few of these gentle giants.

    “We will lose a few redwoods [in the process],” said Cooke. “There’s not enough time to save all of them.”

    Stacy Lane is a staff reporter for La Voz. Contact her at [email protected].

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