Alongside the coast of northern California, there are several state and national parks that have come to be known as the Redwood National and State Parks. These parks are composed of Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks, and others. One thing that has made these parks so popular and important is that 45% of the remaining coast redwood trees are within the parks’ protection. Of the total 139,000 acres that is between all the parks, the coast redwood forests total around 38,982 acres.
The coastal redwoods are some of the most massive and tallest trees in the globe. Others trees also contained in the parks include the grassland prairie. In the 19th century, the trees occupied a whopping two million acres of land but were drastically reduced due to the need for development. The intervention was not seen until the year 1968. However, by then, 90% of the once dominant species had been cut down.
The Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP) forms a significant refuge for a lot of flora and fauna, most notably being the depleted number of coastal redwoods. Other species include the coast Douglas-fir, sitka spruce, and evergreen hardwood tanoak among others.
Similarly, the parks serve as a haven for a number of animal species. With all the trees that exist in the forest, a number of ecosystems have sprouted that support a diverse range of animal species. One example is the endangered tidewater goby. Other animals that are threatened include the Chinook salmon, Steller’s seas lion, and northern spotted owl. An excess of forty mammal species has been recorded as living in the parks. Even dolphins and whales are occasionally seen.
Aside from all these species, there are those that are considered to be invasive and pose a direct threat to local species. Currently, over 200 species have been identified as being exotic. Of these, around thirty pose a threat to local ecosystems. Exotic plants are even rarer.
Oceanic temperate rainforest climate is dominant within then RNSP. The Pacific Ocean nearby greatly influences the climate within the RNSP. Due to the proximity of the sea to the parks, redwoods grow closer to the coastline, within either one or two miles from the coast. Redwoods never grow more than 50 miles from the coast. At these distances, the redwoods receive enough moisture from precipitation and humidity in the air. The presence of fog also serves to protect the trees from direct sunlight during drier periods.
One of the biggest threat to any ecosystem is wildfires. While most may consider fire to be a bad thing to ecosystems, sometimes it is advantageous in ensuring that the ecosystem persists. For these reasons, the park has occasional prescribed fires. The authorities realize that fire is a disadvantage but necessary. A controlled fire is therefore lit to remove undergrowth thus enriching the soil and allowing healthier species to thrive.
In addition, humans pose a threat to almost everything. As stated earlier, the biggest damage done to the redwoods came from human beings. Hopefully, the relevant authorities will be able to ensure a steady recovery of the redwoods.