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, which is the dark, reddish-brown portion of the trees which stems from 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).
The life span of the coast redwood is believed to be 2,500 years. Interestingly, the coast Redwood has the ability to sprout from the root-crown following death of the main stem. In other words, new redwood trees may sprout from their parent’s roots. The trees are 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 grows 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 coast redwood region currently totals approximately 1.74 million acres:
- 1,032,000 acres in Third-party Certified Commercial Forests
- 450,000 acres in Parks, Monuments, and Publicly-owned Lands
- 258,000 acres in Other Privately-owned Land