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A natural resource condition assessment for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks: Appendix 11a: giant sequoias

January 1, 2013

For natural resource managers in the southern Sierra Nevada, giant sequoia requires very little
introduction. It receives great attention as an icon of western forests and as a common namesake
with the areas where it occurs. While it is a single component of a very complex system, its
attention in this assessment and in general is well deserved. Giant sequoia is one of the few
"destination species" that attracts a wide swath of the public by nature of it simply being present.
It draws people, who otherwise may not travel, to a natural environment. The result is an
expansion of the public’s sense of natural resource stewardship. Because park managers could
not achieve their mission without public support, this fostering role of giant sequoia is critical for
park natural resources and is important for natural resources in general.

Despite its social relevance and physical size, we re-emphasize here that the giant sequoia
resource is a relatively small component of the ecosystems of the southern Sierra Nevada. As is
the case with all of the resources assessed in the NRCA, we focus on giant sequoia with the
understanding that other resources will be considered simultaneously when evaluating
management decisions that impact giant sequoia. While we attempt to explicitly address the
interaction of giant sequoia with other resources and stressors, we also realize that ultimately
managers will integrate much more information than is presented here when making decisions
that influence giant sequoia.

The autecology and management issues surrounding giant sequoia have been thoroughly
reviewed elsewhere (Harvey et al. 1980, Aune 1994, Stephenson 1996). Stephenson (1996), in
particular, should be reviewed when considering any management decisions that potentially
impact giant sequoia. For those who may not be familiar with giant sequoia ecology, a summary
of basic information is provided in a table below. In some parts of this assessment, we reproduce
text from Stephenson’s review because it is still relatively current for addressing some of the
stressors. Numerous recent studies reported since 1996 have confirmed and expanded the
understanding of giant sequoia, especially in areas related to ecophysiology and the effectiveness
of restoration treatments. These recent studies are integrated into this assessment. Additionally,
much unpublished work has been done that is useful for establishing baselines and evaluating
trends. This work is presented in detail in order to expand upon previous work and to inform the
final assessments. Instead of providing an introductory description of giant sequoia distribution
and the various landowners who manage groves, we refer readers to the more recent descriptions
provided by Stephenson (1996) and Willard (2000). Some of the relevant points from these
descriptions with respect to giant sequoia within SEKI and Giant Sequoia National Monument
(GSNM) include:

- Of the native giant sequoia grove area in SEKI and GSNM approximately 38% is within
SEKI and 62% is within GSNM.

- 35 of the groves that make up the entire population are all or partially managed by SEKI
and 33 are managed by GSNM.

- As we have done above, reviewers addressing giant sequoia widely recognize its
transcendence beyond an ecologically important species to one with considerable added
cultural value.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2013
Title A natural resource condition assessment for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks: Appendix 11a: giant sequoias
Authors Robert A. York, Nathan L. Stephenson, Marc Meyer, Steve Hanna, Moody Tadashi, Anthony C. Caprio, John J. Battles
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Natural Resource Report
Series Number NPS/SEKI/NR--2013/665.11a
Index ID 70125275
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center