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17th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Looking up at old growth redwood trees

Northern California is home to most of the remaining old growth redwood forests. This photo captures many of the adaptations used by redwood trees used to survive in their environment. The tree to the left is a snag, which is a standing dead tree held up by the roots from the surrounding trees and provides habitat to animals such as bats. The lower needles can be seen, which are flatter and more spread out than the needles at the top of the tree, allowing them to absorb fog for up to 50% of their water intake. The trees themselves form a circle, suggesting a much older tree once sat in the middle and produced the trees we see here, as clones. We can see some burnt spots on the bark; redwoods can withstand fire and lightning to an extent and still thrive due to moisture, bark thickness (up to one foot), and tannic acid, which also repels insects and gives redwoods their red color.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 03.2018
Date Uploaded: 08.2019
Photo Location: Orick, California, United States of America
Camera: NIKON D5600
Copyright: © Sarahanne Alexander